Fear, anger, desperation: How Bogotá's residents are coping with COVID-19

The lockdown in Colombia’s capital lowers infection rates, but tensions are high, and many in the city are struggling to put food on the table.

The neighborhood of Unir II is home to some of the most marginalized and vulnerable residents of Bogotá. Because it’s considered an informal, or "illegal," settlement, this community is beyond the reach of government aid intended to help families in need, especially now during the pandemic. Homes in Unir II and other neighborhoods are assigned to an Estrato (“stratum”), from 1-6, with 6 the richest, 1 the poorest, and 0 representing areas not legally recognized. Those in Unir II fall into Estrato 0 or 1. Higher strata residents pay more for utilities and services, subsidizing the lower strata, but this system has been criticized for deepening stigma, prejudice, and social segregation in one of the world’s most economically unequal countries.
Photograph by Gena Steffens, National Geographic

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