Water distribution confusion Friday in Benton Harbor

Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 5:27 PM EDT
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BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (WNDU) - Benton Harbor residents lined up at a water distribution site on Friday where they thought they would be able to get bottles of water, but that wasn’t exactly the case.

16 News Now was told residents would be able to pick up water at God’s Household of Faith, but no one showed up.

We reached out to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), who is spearheading the distribution sites. They said they were advised last minute that God’s Household of Faith canceled its “commitment to distribute water.”

According to them, bottled water was delivered to the site and was ready to be distributed.

“We realize the people of Benton Harbor have been through a lot and regret that they were inconvenienced,” says Bob Wheaton from MDHHS.

Dozens of cars lined up, waiting for hours to get water.

Residents said they are “beyond frustrated.” Others said, “wow, this is sad,” and “don’t they realize how much we are struggling?”

“I feel irritated that the people of Benton Harbor have to put up with all of this and water should be a basic human right,” said resident Cindy Dian.

“And no one showed and no one came and told us nothing,” said resident Mitchell William.

“And that’s messed up, but that’s okay. We are going to survive and stay strong,” said resident Willie Cornelius.

The state is giving away free water as part of an effort to address the lead levels.

There are distribution sites scheduled for Saturday:

  • Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor – 600 Nate Wells Sr. Drive – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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