Addis Ababa, 3 June 2020 - The Ethiopian Government and UN-Habitat are working together to  redesign overcrowded city markets and set up temporary markets to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in four cities.

A team of urban planners from UN-Habitat visited several traditional markets in Addis Ababa, Bair Dar, Hawassa, and Adama. The markets,  which sell food, vegetables and other commodities, sometimes even cattle, are still open and very crowded.

The planners have  proposed new designs incorporating physical distancing, handwashing stations, waste containers and controlled access to the markets. They also suggested the introduction of temporary markets in certain public spaces.

The Ministry of Urban Development Construction in Ethiopia has adopted the new open market re-arrangement guidelines and designs which will be launched next week by the Minister and UN-Habitat with the Mayors of the cities involved.

“Generally open markets are very overcrowded as they are not properly arranged. Unless they are redesigned, these types of markets can present a high risk of spreading the virus,” said Thomas Chiramba of UN-Habitat’s Regional Office for Africa.

“UN-Habitat’s intervention in redesigning and rearrangement of markets will not only reduce the risk of COVID-19, it will help to sustain the livelihood of the people.”

The preparation of guidelines and designs to re-arrange open markets is one of UN-Habitat’s response to COVID-19 in Ethiopia. In addition, hand washing facilities have been set up at the Koshe dumpsite which covers about 36 hectares to prevent the spread of COVID-19.