Federal Emergency Declaration Signed for Flint Water Crisis

As of Jan. 16, more than 11,300 homes had been visited by the water response teams that are distributing bottled water, filters, replacement cartridges, and water testing kits.

President Barack Obama signed an emergency declaration Jan. 16 in response to the drinking water crisis in Flint, Mich. He issued it after Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder requested it; the order declares that an emergency exists in the state of Michigan and directs that federal aid supplement state and local response efforts due to the area affected by contaminated water.

His order authorizes FEMA to coordinate all disaster relief efforts for the purpose of alleviating the hardship caused by the emergency on the local population and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures to save lives, protect property and public health and safety, and lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in Genesee County, Mich.

Direct federal assistance will be provided at 75 percent federal funding to provide water, water filters, water filter cartridges, water test kits, and other necessary items for no more than 90 days.

In addition, FEMA Administrator W. Craig Fugate selected David G. Samaniego as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area.

According to the state's latest update, water response teams distributed bottled water, filters, replacement cartridges, and water testing kits to nearly 4,000 Flint homes on Jan. 16. As of that date, more than 11,300 homes had been visited by the water response teams that consist of local and state personnel, the American Red Cross, and volunteers. The Michigan National Guard is dedicating more personnel to assist with distribution efforts at five water resource sites, and beginning Jan. 18, approximately 70 National Guard members will be handing out resources at fire stations. Above and beyond donations, as of Jan. 9, nearly 20,900 cases of water, 48,000 filters, and more than 3,300 water testing kits had been distributed.

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