Health Disparities Investigation #2: The Flint Water Crisis

Contributor: Mohammed Turfe.

In the wake of one of our country's worst public health crises, the American people have lent out a helping hand to aid those who have been robbed of a basic necessity of life: clean drinking water. The water being consumed by Flint's citizens is 19 times more corrosive than what it was before. What was first an innocent move to switch Flint's water supply to save a quick buck has turned into a fiasco that is deteriorating the health of Flint residents.  Not only has the lead poisoned water lead to the death of 10 people from Legionnaire's disease, but it is also causing brain damage, lower IQ levels, and even ADHD in Flint's children. This kind of grave injustice is the exact thing that MedEq is aimed at fighting against. 

MedEq volunteers donating water bottles and filters to Flint residents.

Despite these humble and heroic efforts from MedEq, and other organizations and individuals across the globe, donating bottled water alone will not reverse the devastating damage done to Flint's residents. In short, these donations are like placing a band-aid on an amputation. Replacing pipes, increasing health care, and funding education programs for youth affected by lead poisoning comprise only a few of the costs Flint faces. In this time of crisis, we must turn to the national government for vital assistance. As we are in the midst of a presidential election, it is interesting to note the attention, or lack thereof in part, that the Flint Water crisis is receiving. 

The attention each party is giving to the Flint Water crisis is indicative of their respective political views. Essentially, it's minimal federal government involvement vs. increased involvement. For the Republicans, there has been minimal coverage of the Flint crisis as it wasn't until the 33rd question and an hour and a half into the last debate that this issue was brought up. For the 2 minutes it was mentioned, it was mostly spent by Marco Rubio defending Governor Rick Snyder for, "taking responsibility." On the Democratic side, a more sentient and humane stance was taken. Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have visited Flint residents to stand for their rights and ensure that if they are elected, this sort of crisis will never happen again. In fact, tonight, both candidates will be debating in Flint and bringing well-deserved attention to the city. 

What's also important to note is that the stream of issues faced in Flint flows farther than the quality of their water. Health disparities have stricken this city for much too long. It is known as one of the most dangerous and poorest cities in America. With a population of around 100,000, 57% of the population are African-American with 42% living below the poverty level. Axiomatically so, for the City of Flint, it's more than the water crisis and it is time that Flint gets the assistance it desperately needs.