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Group’s filters help Navajo Nation have safe drinking water amid pandemic

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky - As the coronavirus digs deeper into Navajo Nation, infecting Native Americans at a higher rate than anywhere in the country, 1,500 miles away a nonprofit in the Archdiocese of Louisville is working to ease the suffering.

Water With Blessings - which provides donated Sawyer PointOne water filtration systems to communities around the world that lack safe drinking water - is sending water filters to the Navajo people.

Ursuline Sister Larraine Lauter, co-founder of the nonprofit, said a lack of safe drinking water is making the Navajo people especially vulnerable to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

As of May 26, 4,153 people had become infected with the coronavirus on the vast reservation that spans 27,000 square miles across Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. Of those, 144 people have died, according to the Navajo Department of Health.

A third of households in the Navajo Nation do not have access to safe drinking water, said Sister Lauter. A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control in 2011 found that 30 percent of households didn’t have running water. As a result, individuals get water from unregulated and untreated sources.

“Clean water is the very basis of health. It’s the most fundamental part of access to health. If you are drinking contaminated water or you don’t have enough water, the body is that much more vulnerable and it’s harder to fight off any kind of illness,” Lauter told The Record, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Louisville. “I think that’s why they have a very high rate of death.”

See the full article from Ruby Thomas here.

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October 21, 2023

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