More than 95% of all recorded cases of COVID-19 are in urban areas. The impact of the pandemic will be most devastating especially for the 1 billion people living in informal settlements.
In Mozambique, 76.9% of the urban population lives in overcrowded informal settlements, in housing with inadequate water and sanitation conditions, with crowded public transportation, and limited access to basic services and public health facilities.
The 2018 Afro-barometer survey indicates that up to 42% of urban households have no water access in their house or courtyard, 13% have no latrine, and 28% have no electricity supply. Also, in many urban areas of Mozambique families live in cohabitation and excessive household densification and several times the water supply is precarious, with frequent service interruptions. Therefore, preventive measures for COVID-19, such as hand washing, physical distancing, and self-isolation, are often impossible in crowded urban areas and informal settlements.
Thus, it is clear that planning at the municipal level is essential in the fight against COVID-19. For this purpose mapping the most vulnerable areas proves to be an essential tool for the development of public policies and response plans at the local level. With this, innovative mapping and planning technologies can be used in the fight against the new coronavirus to support municipalities in their preparedness and prevention activities.
UN-Habitat worked with Associação Mapeando Meu Bairro in the context of the Urban Task-Force (UTF) to support 12 Municipalities of Mozambique in vulnerability mapping and strategic planning for COVID-19 response, through a participatory approach.
This publication was realized in order to firstly disseminate good practices on innovative tools and initiatives to fight the pandemic in urban areas at national and international level and secondly to trigger reflections on urban areas’ vulnerabilities and possible areas of improvement.