US

Language barriers, fear heighten woes in Flint water crisis

  • FILE - In this Feb. 5, 2016 file photo, volunteers load a vehicle with bottled water at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, in Flint, Mich. 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 residents who speak little or no English say some didn’t learn about the water problems - or need for filters - for months after the problems became known. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

    FILE - In this Feb. 5, 2016 file photo, volunteers load a vehicle with bottled water at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, in Flint, Mich. 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 residents who speak little or no English say some didn’t learn about the water problems - or need for filters - for months after the problems became known. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this May 4, 2016 file photo, President Barack Obama holds up a glass of water he will drink from, after speaking at Flint Northwestern High School about the ongoing water crisis, in Flint, Mich. 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. Obama, who declared a state of emergency in the city in mid-January and ordered federal aid to supplement the state and local response, visited Flint in May. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

    FILE - In this May 4, 2016 file photo, President Barack Obama holds up a glass of water he will drink from, after speaking at Flint Northwestern High School about the ongoing water crisis, in Flint, Mich. 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. Obama, who declared a state of emergency in the city in mid-January and ordered federal aid to supplement the state and local response, visited Flint in May. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Feb. 5, 2016 file photo, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, center, and Our Lady of Guadalupe Church Deacon, Omar Odette, meets with volunteers helping to load vehicles with bottled water, in Flint, Mich. Snyder visited the church that's distributing water and filters to its predominantly Latino parishioners. Our Lady of Guadalupe Church north of the city developed bilingual information with government officials. (AP Photo/Carlos Osori, File)

    FILE - In this Feb. 5, 2016 file photo, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, center, and Our Lady of Guadalupe Church Deacon, Omar Odette, meets with volunteers helping to load vehicles with bottled water, in Flint, Mich. Snyder visited the church that's distributing water and filters to its predominantly Latino parishioners. Our Lady of Guadalupe Church north of the city developed bilingual information with government officials. (AP Photo/Carlos Osori, File)  (The Associated Press)

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.