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      COVID-19 and Informal Settlements - Implications for Water, Sanitation and Health in India and Indonesia

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          Abstract

          Informal settlements are home to over one billion people worldwide and are characterised by high population densities and poor environmental conditions. The authors identify the impact of COVID-19 on existing water and sanitation practices and potential pathways for transmission of COVID-19 in informal settlements in India and Indonesia. In the short term, there is an urgent need for mobile hand washing, washing/bathing facilities and toilets. In the long term, COVID-19 provides an opportunity to invest in centralised water and sanitation networked solutions appropriated for high-density settings to integrate those settlements into the city, improve environmental conditions and health in cities.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          UCL Open: Environment Preprint
          UCL Press
          2 June 2020
          Affiliations
          [1 ] UCL, Engineering for International Development Centre, Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering
          [2 ] Aceso Global Health Consultants Limited
          [3 ] UCL, Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering
          [4 ] Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University
          [5 ] Indonesia One Health University Network
          [6 ] Aceso Global Health Consultants Limited, India
          [7 ] Population, Policy and Practice, UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health
          Article
          10.14324/111.444/000036.v1

          This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

          Funding
          Submission on behalf of Childhood Infections & Pollution (CHIP) Consortium N/A

          Data sharing not applicable to this article as no datasets were generated or analysed during the current study.

          Engineering

          Policy and law, WASH, Informal settlements, India, COVID-19, Indonesia, infection pathways, Water, The Environment

          Comments

          Dear Editor

           

          We have already submitted a revised version uploaded online where we have responded to reviewers comments. If there are specific comments where you need further clarification happy to address them.

           

          Kind Regards

          Priti

          2020-07-21 12:23 UTC
          +1

          Editor-in-Chief rationale for including text to account for reviewer’s comments is underlined.

          Please amend text to take account of the reviewers’ points as much as possible. The paper will be then move on to the full publication process once that is done subject to a read through from the editor(s).

          Reviewer 1

          The abstract could be strengthened by including some data from the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme on current coverage of water supply, sanitation and hygiene in India and Indonesia using the SDG 6.1 and SDG 6.2 indicators,

          Both reviewers are concerned that water is given some prominence at least in terms of the context for these communities:

          The introduction could also introduce some data or references to water supply coverage and microbial water quality. Earlier studies of Water Quality in India during the MDG period questioned the use of some of the Government access indicators https://www.researchgate.net/publication/225293967_Global_Access_to_Safe_Water_Accounting_for_Water_Quality_and_the_Resulting_Impact_on_MDG_Progress

          https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20635198/

          Please account for the following 2 comments if possible. Such technologies/engineered solutions/commercial aspects might be very helpful to outline:

          The interventions for COVID-19 response could also consider some of the engineering considerations for designing non-contact handwashing stations to avoid hand contact. Are there any examples in this study?

          COVID-19 also requires increased volumes of water in specific zones of cities (including increased domestic needs in peri urban and low income slums). The paper should mention some demand data and also how increased domestic demand volumes were met and or how water quality is addressed?

          Affordability must be an issue in these communities and this must vary between communities so any text on this would be welcome – if there are doubts on this indicator then comment on that would be warranted:

          Affordability of services is a key component of the SDG indicator – the paper would be strengthened by including some specific data on how services are being made more affordable in India and Indonesia.

          Specific comments to address from Reviewer 2

          The following point is relevant in terms of the wider implications of the virus impacts and to increase the topicality and relevance of the publication

          Page 2: Last Paragraph: Lockdown in India happened in peak summers which is worth mentioning as it has implications for water scarcity.

          Page 3: 1st paragraph: Worth mentioning here the community spread of COVID 19 in Dharavi 9an urban slum of Mumbai.

           

          Page 4: 1st Paragraph: Factually incorrect. Areas where Covid19 cases are found are completely sealed by Government of India (Dharavi in Mumbai and other high population density areas). Consider altering the language of the opening statement.

          Page 5: An important point to discuss here is that along with the interventions, an important thing is to empower communities so that they can make healthier choices.

          Decision of the handling editor after review: Revise.

           

           

          2020-06-18 15:52 UTC
          +1

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