The city of Flint, Michigan, is in a state of crisis. For more than a year, the city’s water has been dangerously contaminated, leading to nationwide outrage.
The problem begin in April 2014, when in an attempt to save money the city switched from drinking water provided by the city of Detroit to water from the Flint River. The Flint River’s water turned out to be corrosive, causing lead from aging pipes to leach into the water supply and leading to extremely elevated levels of lead in the city’s drinking water.
In Flint, this crisis has exposed between 6,000 and 12,000 children to drinking water with dangerously high levels of lead, which can cause brain and nervous system damage and serious developmental problems. The water change is also the possible cause of an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease that has killed 10 people and affected another 77.
Eight lawsuits have been filed against government officials on the issue, and several investigations have been opened. On January 5th, the city was declared to be in a state of emergency by the Governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder. Less than two weeks later, President Obama declared a federal state of emergency, authorizing additional help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.
You can help the victims of this crisis by making a donation to support Flint residents. The United Way of Genesee County has set up the Flint Water Fund for the purchase of water filters, bottled water, emergency support services, and prevention efforts. You can learn more and donate to them here.
Photo credit: Flint Water Response Team