The Flint water crisis is being addressed through 65 GoFundMe campaigns, and so far approximately $200,000 have been raised on the crowdfunding platform.
On January 5, the US government announced that a federal state of emergency has been enforced for Flint, Michigan, given that abnormally high levels of lead have been detected in the water supply of the city located on the Flint River bank, around 65 miles north of Detroit.
The problems were first reported in April 2014, shortly after it was decided that Flint would have to stop depending on the Detroit water system and instead be part of another water district.
However, since the Karegondi Water Authority (KWA) was still working on a new water intake pipeline for the city, it was decided that temporarily residents would have to rely on water being drained out of the Flint River.
Previously, locals had been able to enjoy clean water, pumped out of Lake Huron, but now they were forced to consume water that had been heavily contaminated as a result of industrial activities and extensive farming being conducted in the area.
Even though the water underwent a process of purification in order to become drinkable and safe for consumption, given that it had exceptionally high levels of chlorine, it corroded iron, rendering the entire sanitation operations virtually useless.
Moreover, the river water’s corrosive effect on lead was around 12 times higher than the one registered at water pumped out of the Lake Huron. As a result, it displaced the highly toxic chemical, transporting it until it eventually reached people’s homes, through their water supply.
In January 2015, the University of Michigan-Flint was the first to identify overly elevated lead concentrations on its property, and the following month, a local residence was also discovered to have drinking water with lead levels that were 7 times higher than the ones recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency.
After two more months passed, it was determined that Flint kids also had abnormally high levels of lead in their blood, thus being at risk of suffering irreversible brain damage, resulting in cognitive problems and behavioral disorders.
The crisis continued virtually unaddressed up until September, when health officials came to the conclusion that the incidence of lead poisoning had increased twofold, and the following month it was finally decided that locals would once again receive water from Detroit’s water system instead.
However, the damage was already done, and in spite of extensive use of filters, lead concentrations remained excessively high. In December the situation was finally declared an emergency at city level, and this level of alarm was eventually raised at state and federal level as well.
Now that the actual extent and implications of the Flint water crisis have been fully recognized, it appears that more efforts are under way in order to curb the significant damage caused by the lead contamination, which is believed to have already affected around 27,000 kids.
One such initiative has been launched on GoFundMe on Friday, January 22, and will unfold until January 29. The purpose of the donations competition, which is the first in the history of the platform, is to provide Flint residents with as much financial support as possible.
In order to encourage people to pledge money for this cause, the crowdfunding website’s chief executive officer, Rob Solomon, has promised that the campaign that generates the largest amount of donations will be aided by GoFundMe, with an extra contribution of $10,000.
So far, there are 65 campaigns aimed at assisting the people of Flint, and around $200,000 have already been raised, based on donations coming from over 5,000 individuals.
Given the success that the GoFundMe initiative has had so far, it is hoped that the final sum of money that will be raised will be significant enough to bring much-needed support and solace to those whose lives have been disrupted by the Flint water crisis.
Donations will be used in order to buy water filters, fresh veggies and fruit, bottled water, and many other supplies that the city’s residents are in desperate need of at the moment.
Image Source: ACLU Michigan