Obama Just Declared The Flint Water Crisis A Federal Emergency, Here’s What That Means For Flint

On Saturday, President Obama officially declared that the Flint water crisis is now a federal emergency.

“The President’s action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in Genesee County,” reads a statement from FEMA.

Just two days ago, Michigan’s Republican governor, Rick Snyder, requested that President Obama declare the Flint water crisis a federal emergency.

In April 2014, Flint’s emergency manager forced the city to switch from using Detroit’s water system to using the Flint River for water. The decision to do so was touted as a means to cut costs for the city. It turned out to be a disaster.

There is an unusual amount of salt in the Flint River. The river is also extremely contaminated. So when the salt began to corrode the pipes of Flint’s water system, lead leaked into people’s drinking water. One study found the pipe corrosion problem could have been solved for as little as $100 a day. Now it is estimated that it will cost up to $1.5 billion dollars to fix Flint’s water system.

The statement from FEMA goes on to say that:

“Emergency protective measures, limited to direct federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent federal funding. This emergency assistance is to provide water, water filters, water filter cartridges, water test kits, and other necessary related items for a period of no more than 90 days.”

This is great news for the city of Flint. The people of Flint are almost completely reliant on bottled water and emergency water stations. The National Guard and other governmental bodies, along with grassroots community groups, have been tasked with providing the residents of Flint those emergency water supplies. Now, they will receive funding and coordination from FEMA, which should alleviate some of the burden.

Featured Image Credit:By The White House [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons