City2City

6 August 2020 - Each week the University of Manchester brings together relevant international practices and examples on recovery from COVID-19. The weekly briefing is curated by the Global Resilient Cities Network to bring key lessons and examples targeted for resilience officers, emergency planners and other city practitioners. The structure of the briefing follows the City Resilience Framework – specifically the four drivers that cities have been identified as mattering the most when a city faces chronic stresses or sudden shocks - Health and Wellbeing, Economy & Society; Infrastructure & Environment; and Leadership & Strategy.

In this week’s briefing we highlight principles to embed equity in recovery; the role of faith-based organisations in engaging vulnerable communities; how existing communications platforms can improve transparency in response and recovery actions; and need for pre-emptive strategies to counter the compounded risks of COVID-19 and natural hazards.

To ensure equity is embedded in recovery a coalition of UK health and social care charities have identified 5 principles to guide COVID-19 response. Reinforcing the need to confront inequality head-on, these groups argue that due to differences in financial situations, work and living conditions, and personal characteristics “we’re all in the same storm, we’re not all in the same boat”.

Partnering with faith-based and civil society organisations may dispel inaccuracies about the virus and ensure the most vulnerable are able to register for COVID-19 support and information. Public health experts in cities like Rosario, Argentina, have successfully worked with the Catholic Church to go door-to-door at the community level, and enable inclusion of those groups who may not be integrated into the system.

Transparency in communication around disaster response - whether pandemic or natural hazard-related - can be improved by ensuring the public have an authoritative timeline of activities and decisions taken. In Vanuatu, a government website recording COVID-19 response and recovery, is also providing transparency across actions and responses related to category 5 tropical cyclone Harold hitting land in April 2020.

And as cities like Zagreb, Croatia juggle public health, social and economic responses to the pandemic, a magnitude 5.3 earthquake disrupted newly introduced lockdown measures, causing an increase in the rate of infections in the days following the earthquake. Given the history of epidemics following natural disasters, modelling, scenario planning, and multi-hazard exercises are just some of the pre-emptive strategies to counter the compounded risks of COVID-19 and natural hazards.

Download the attached PDF of the full briefing