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President Obama took action to declare a state of emergency for Michigan due to its ongoing issues with water in and around the city of Flint and the Flint River. Last week, a request was made to the president seeking federal aid and assistance over the ongoing matter.

The AFP reports:

US President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in Michigan on Saturday, freeing up federal aid to help an area affected by contaminated water, the White House said.

Authorities in the state have been dealing with a major health crisis over lead-contaminated water that arose from cost-cutting measures implemented in the city of Flint, home to some 100,000 people.

Problems arose after state officials ignored months of health warnings about the foul-smelling water as residents complained that it was making them sick.

On Thursday, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder submitted a request to the president to call a state of emergency.

However it was just four years ago that the governor named a state-appointed manager to take control of Flint’s troubled finances.

As part of cost-cutting, the city began drawing water from the Flint River in April 2014 rather than continuing to buy it from Detroit. That’s when problems began.

In a statement from President Obama regarding the declaration, it explained what roles the federal authorities will play.

From the statement:

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. recently posted a timeline of the Flint water crisis, which can be viewed by following this link.

Photo: “Flint River in Flint MIchigan” by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, photographer not specified or unknown – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Digital Visual LibraryImage pageImage description pageDigital Visual Library home page. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.