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Obama signs emergency declaration in Michigan water crisis

National Guard troops and local volunteers are currently working to deliver bottled water and water filters to residents.
By Brooks Hays   |   Jan. 16, 2016 at 5:13 PM

FLINT, Mich., Jan. 16 (UPI) -- On Saturday, President Obama signed an emergency declaration, paving the way for federal aid to be delivered to Flint, Mich., where residents are without access to safe drinking water.

Residents of Flint were forbidden from using the city's water after it came to light that the municipal water system had been comprised by dangerously high levels lead.

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Reports suggest the people of Flint have been drinking poisoned water for at least a year, and that city, county and state officials knew the water was unsafe but failed to act.

On Friday, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette launched an investigation into the water crisis. The probe will determine whether local or state officials violated state laws in their handling of the water system.

National Guard troops and local volunteers are currently working to deliver bottled water and water filters to residents. The new emergency declaration will enable the Federal Emergency Management Agency to spearhead efforts to "alleviate the hardship and suffering" of Flint residents.

"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," a White House statement declared.

"I welcome the President's quick action in support of the people of Flint after months of inaction by the Governor," Congressman Dan Kildee, D-Mich., said in a statement. "The residents and children of Flint deserve every resource available to make sure that they have safe water and are able to recover from this terrible man-made disaster created by the state."

In an interview with TIME, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder denied any wrongdoing.

"As soon as I became aware of elevated lead levels in blood, we took action."

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