Language barriers, fear heighten woes in Flint water crisis

originally posted on June 8, 2016


Flint’s lead-contaminated water crisis has affected all of the city’s nearly 100,000 residents, but some grapple with an extra challenge: a language barrier.

Advocates for Latino residents say some who speak little or no English didn’t learn about the water problems — or need for filters — for months after the problems became known. Some residents in the country illegally are afraid to provide personal information in exchange for water or help lest they be deported or questioned by law enforcement officials.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Church north of the city started distributing water and filters. They developed bilingual information with government officials.

Local immigration attorney Victoria Arteaga sees improvements but says more must be done to ease concerns and meet needs of residents who lack legal status.

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