Weekly Urban News Update
April 3, 2020
In This Update: 
Hundreds of Thousands of India's Migrant Workers Are Left Stranded and Homeless
Community Activists in Brazil's Favelas Step Up to Fight Coronavirus
Why Urban Preparedness Matters For COVID-19
Bloomberg Philanthropies and National League of Cities Launch COVID-19 Local Action Tracker
Singapore Government Introduces App To Trace Coronavirus
In The News and Around the Web: 
Hundreds of Thousands of India's Migrant Workers Are Left Stranded and Homeless
India's national lockdown has left hundreds of thousands of migrant laborers homeless and stranded, report Maria Abi-Habib and Sameer Yasir at The New York Times. Approximately 45 million Indians migrate from the countryside to cities every year for work where they are often housed and fed at the shop or construction site that employs them. The lockdown means they are now without shelter and food. India already has one of the largest homeless populations in the world and the current state has totally overwhelmed shelters and soup kitchens. Migrant workers may also have difficulty accessing a the government's $22.5 billion relief package because funds are tied to registration in a national database, which excludes some workers, or a home address, which many migrants don't have.

Read more here.
Community Activists in Brazil's Favelas Step Up to Fight Coronavirus
Civil society and some unconventional non-state actors are stepping in to fight coronavirus in Brazil's favelas, which have limited access to water and other services and are home to thirteen million people.  The vulnerability of the favelas are exacerbated by a strained universal healthcare system, lack of coordination between the state and federal government, and a defiant president, who has dismissed coronavirus as "sniffles" and explained his opposition to a lockdown as: "We are all going to die one day." So far, the activists are spreading word about prevention, promoting helpful assistance services, debunking fake news, and collecting donations to help with rent, bills, and lost wages. In some favelas, organized crime has even imposed and enforced a lockdown.

Read more  here .
Why Urban Preparedness Matters For COVID-19
In an interview with The New Humanitarian, Robert Muggah, principal of The SecDev Group and co-founder of the Igarap é Institute explains why urban preparedness is key for containing coronavirus as a global crisis. Muggah says that even after the shocks of SARS, H1N1, and Ebola over the past two decades, investment in health preparedness focuses almost exclusively on  national capacities and less on the specific capabilities of urban governments and services. Muggah says aid organizations must adapt their operations to specific urban needs and circumstances.. He also emphasizes and the importance of preparedness indices such as the Rapid Urban Health Security Assessment by Georgetown University and the need for an urban pandemic preparedness index.

Read more  here .
COVID-19 Local Action Tracker Launched
Bloomberg Philanthropies and the National League of Cities launched the COVID-19 Local Action Tracker. The online source aims to help mayors and city leaders improve coronavirus response by recording and making public all actions taken by local leaders. James Anderson, Head of Government Innovation at Bloomberg Philanthropies explains: "Mayors across the country are on the frontlines leading the fight against the coronavirus pandemic...This tool will allow local leaders to learn promising practices from their peers, share ideas, and work together during one of the most challenging times in the nation's history." Actions recorded have been mainly measures taken to flatten the curve, such as limiting the number of people who can gather in a place.

Read more here.
Singapore Government Agencies Launch App to Trace COVID-19
Singapore's Government Technology Agency and the Ministry of Health launched a new app to trace and record citizens' movements to reduce the spread of COVID-19. TraceTogether exchanges bluetooth signals between phones to detect other participating TraceTogether users. If a user is interviewed by the ministry as part of contact tracing efforts, then they can consent to sending his/her data to the ministry. The government says no personal data is recorded, only the mobile number for verification needed. GovTech has launched a number of other coronavirus tools as well, including an AI-driven automated temperature screening gantry, MaskGoWhere website that helps Singaporean find the designated location day and time to collect their allocated masks, and an askJamie chatbot.

Read more here.
In The News and Around the Web: National Lockdowns
  • In South Africa, No Dog Walking and Jogging:   South Africa has one of the strictest 21-day lockdowns which includes no jogging outside, no dog-walking, and no purchasing alcohol and cigarettes.
  • Peru Limits Movement By Gender :   In Peru, men can leave the house Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and women can leave Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. 
  • Saudi Arabia Extends Curfew : Saudi Arabia  extended   curfew for the holy cities of Mecca and Medina to 24 hours and has asked Muslims to defer preparations for the annual Hajj pilgrimage in late July.
  • In Zimbabwe, the Lockdown May Mean Starvation : In Zimbabwe, 60% of the population  are  food insecurwhich may have disastrous consequences for the 21-day national lockdown.
This week, migrant workers in Delhi tried to return home but were turned back at the state border. 
(Photo Credit:  Yawar Nazir/Getty Images)
The current crisis underscores the vital importance of livable cities globally.  Even, now the mobility of disease within and between urban centers is   IHC Global helps focus global attention on the vital interconnectedness of cities.  Now more than ever, we need your support and your voice. 

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