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Chasing the mosquitos in the Urban South: Aedes aegypti, water, and households 

September 4th, 2018


In 2014 and 2015 various outbreaks of dengue were reported in Mozambique. In countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, such as Colombia, there have also been outbreaks of dengue, zika and chikungunya. High percentages of Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that most effectively transmits these diseases, were found in cities such as Pemba, Maputo, Barranquilla, and Buenaventura. Dengue, zika and chikungunya, and their transmission vector, mosquito Aedes aegypti are tied to water as this mosquito lays eggs in stored water in or around households.

This seminar describes the use of an ethnographic approach to study households, water supply availability, intermittence and distribution, and document politics and everyday community strategies to obtain and store water. It focuses on the interdependence between intermittent water supply, deficient solid waste collection, and the Aedes aegypti. It also takes into account the different legacies left by civil wars and rural crises on processes of unequal urbanization.


About the Speaker


Dr. Tatiana Acevedo Guerrero
 is a geographer with a background in political studies. She holds the position of Lecturer and Researcher in Politics of Sanitation and Wastewater Governance at the IHE Delft Institute for Water Education. The research of Tatiana focuses on the interactions between urban water flows, infrastructure, and communities, in the context of rapid unplanned growth and uneven development in cities of the global South.

She is concerned with the different relationships and histories that are reflected in access to (and exclusion from) water supply, sanitation, and drainage. Her research documents the ways in which residents of different neighbourhoods make water flow – not only to access (or store) drinkable water, but also to make other waters (human excreta, household wastewater and storm water) leave.

Her work also recognizes the entanglements between different infrastructures such as drainage, water supply, sanitation, solid waste collection, and electricity. For in the context of southern cities, where many infrastructures are characterized by long term breakdown and poor maintenance, infrastructures tend to be deeply intertwined because if one breakdowns the others will probably follow.

Tatiana’s most recent research has a comparative approach and is ongoing in Maputo and Pemba (Mozambique) and Barranquilla (Colombia). It investigates the connections between intermittent water supply, water storage practices, and Aedes aegypti. Through ethnographic and archival work, the project aims to describe the historical legacies and daily routines that link communities, stored water, and mosquitoes and understand what they might tell us about cities in the South. While her work comes under the sub-disciplines of political ecology and urban studies, it also examines a broad range of questions related to socio-technical networks, state formation, and citizenship


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Images Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

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