Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) is supporting the Presbytery of Lake Huron (Flint, Michigan is in this presbytery) in their support to the people of Flint, Michigan especially the high proportion of low-income residents who are unable to afford safe drinking water.
The water crisis in Flint, Michigan has been widely covered in national news. Dangerous levels of toxic lead have been confirmed in the city water supply, creating an ongoing community health crisis, with levels of lead in children’s blood having tripled in many cases. Because the lead in the infrastructure pipes has been breached, it is unknown how long this crisis will persist, as leaching with continue even with less corrosive water in the system. The need is immediate and ongoing for the foreseeable future. The effects of lead poisoning in children may not become apparent for up to 10-15 years. There is a critical need for public health education and long-term community based monitoring and wellness education.
In January, 2016, members of the PDA National Response Team (NRT) visited the Presbytery of Lake Huron to help with assessments and to discuss ways to respond with Presbyterian leaders and how the church can be engaged in addressing this crisis in the immediate and the long-term needs. The Presbytery is coordinating with local Presbyterian churches in Flint to assist in providing safe water and water filters to affected communities.
One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) funds have been provided to support efforts, which include but are not limited to:
- Distribution of emergency water supplies, filters, and filter replacements
- Community education on lead poisoning awareness and treatment
- Identifying and reaching at-risk homes and families
- Working cooperatively with community emergency response efforts and local hospitals to fund the development of ongoing community health resources to monitor at-risk individuals.
- Supporting the spiritual care and reconciliation in a community that feels betrayed
- Assisting Presbyterian churches in the affected areas test for and remediate lead contamination in their own physical plants