Yeh Hai Life!

Pandemics and the Planet of Slums

In Environment, Health, Human Rights, India on August 16, 2009 at 7:41 pm

The rise of megaslums and impact on disease : Not only are today’s slums larger than in the 19th century, but they are more dense. Though they are low-rise structures, the square footage is tiny with a lot of people living in each shack. They are built haphazardly along narrow footpaths, not the broad grids of the inner city. A small fire can spread to destroy 1,000 units of housing in 15-20 minutes. Infectious diseases travel rapidly in such an environment. Slums as contiguous swaths of settlement are largest in Latin America—the largest being on the southeastern edges of Mexico City. There are similar settlement patterns outside Bogota, Colombia, and Lima, Peru. Bombay has the largest slums in South Asia, with about a 500,000 population. (hat tip Andrew Sullivan)


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