Cities in a Crisis: COVID-19 and Climate-Fragility Risks in urban environments
Susanne Wolfmaier

Around 90% of all reported COVID-19 infections occur in urban areas. This staggering statistic makes it clear that the impacts of the pandemic will most affect the urban poor. In many parts of the world, food supply has become the most urgent need for people in cities. In Nairobi, when the COVID-19 related restrictions were in place, 70% of the urban poor ate less, and more than three quarters incurred higher expenses. One reason why the pandemic has had such a severe impact on food access in cities is that incomes are lower in the informal sector, where the majority of the urban poor are employed, though increased food prices due to reduced supply and the suspension of school meals have also played a role. Unsurprisingly, health services are under strain in informal settlements where many residents lack access to healthcare, which is particularly alarming as poor health is the predominant reason why city dwellers slip into chronic poverty.

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