Slums - 'easy prey' for nCoV 2

Slums - 'easy prey' for nCoV 2

India's Dharavi, one of Asia's largest slums, is an ideal place for nCoV to spread because many people share public toilets.

The cramped slum is located in Mumbai, India’s financial capital, made famous after the movie `Slumdog Millionaire` won an Oscar in 2008. It is home to about a million people, most of whom work as laborers.

The Indian government announced a nationwide blockade last month, asking people to stay home in the hope that this measure will limit the spread of nCoV.

A canal full of garbage in the Dharavi slum on April 6.

Garbage is thrown all over the road and causes sewer blockages.

`No one wants to live in chaotic conditions where 80 people share a toilet early in the morning,` said Vinod Shetty, director of the ACORN Foundation, a non-profit organization.

`But the living conditions in Dharavi are just so. If we require each person to stay two meters apart, we will need an area three times larger than Dharavi,` he said.

The population density here is 270,000 people/km2, according to the World Economic Forum.

`What can we do? We can only clean the house during the lockdown,` said Abdul Kadir, 48, a grocery store employee.

Sanitary conditions in the neighborhood are very poor.

One of the two deaths in Dharavi was a municipal sanitation worker who lived elsewhere but worked in a slum.

Authorities also renovated a stadium, turning it into a 300-bed testing facility and requisitioned a private hospital to treat nCoV patients.

`We are preparing for a major crisis if the virus spreads,` said Kiran Dighavkar, a Mumbai city official.

Fear of being ostracized also causes many people to avoid reporting truthfully, he said, showing the scale of the challenge authorities face when trying to trace people who have come into contact with the dead and get them tested.

`Ignorant people do not reveal who they have met for fear of being stigmatized. We are trying to gain their trust to trace people at risk of infection,` Dighavkar said.

Slums - 'easy prey' for nCoV

People lined up waiting to buy milk in the Dharavi slum on April 6.

But some slum residents are worried because they think it’s too late.

`If the number of cases increases, it will increase at a dizzying rate,` said Anil Sharma, a security worker.

In the slums, people still rushed out of their homes to buy vegetables and milk, one person even stopped to shave at a roadside barber shop.

`I was very scared,` he said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *