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All the major cities of the developing and the least
developed countries have populations largely in the form of squatter
settlements. Two characteristics of this form of population growth are due to
the sheer size of the problem and also its relatively sudden onset. The rates
of growth of squatter settlements are increasing rapidly compared to the growth
of urban population as a whole. Therefore, various problems are appearing.
In all squatter
neighborhoods, there is need for water. Their unwashed bodies and clothes are
not only the causes for personal discomfort due to scabies, body lice and
parasites but also are largely responsible for the social stigma commonly
applied to squatters.
Millions in such
settlements rely for their water on open wells, community hand pumps, rain
collecting tanks and community hand pipes.
Storage of water
in open drums in such settlements has created the opportunity for mosquitoes to
breed in large number. Consequently, there is a strong possibility of epidemics
of haemorrhagic dengo fever in most countries of the tropics.
sewage disposal in these settlements promotes the breeding of another species
of mosquitoes (culex fetigans), Changing ecology, which encourages dense
population of mosquitoes within overcroweded urban settlements. This has
contributed to an increasing incidence of yellow fever in West Africa.
economic difficulties for squatter families. They are forced to buy polluted
water at prices 10 to 18 times higher than that of piped water consumed by
apartments for the slum dwellers would have been a boon to them because they
would then have living quarters. This would also settle the problem of illegal
squatters to some extent.