State of Emergency in Flint

A state of emergency was declared by President Obama in Flint, Michigan, on Jan. 16, with FEMA and the National Guard dispatched to provide aid to assist with the ongoing water crisis. Governor Rick Snyder’s request that the area be deemed a disaster zone was denied, however, as the water contamination was man-made, rather than natural — a decision that Snyder was planning to appeal, according to The Detroit News.

The lead contamination of tap water to Flint residents has been an increasingly high profile issue, which was brought up during the Democratic debate on Jan. 17. According to CNN, civil lawsuits have begun being filed against state agencies by residents of Flint. The primary defendant is the governor of the state, but also the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, reports CNN.

Gov. Snyder was scheduled to speak about continued efforts and short-term emergency management during an annual speech to lawmakers on the evening Jan. 19, including more filters and bottled water, medical help for the affected children, and an infrastructure integrity study, reported The Detroit News. In an interview with The National Journal on Jan. 18, Snyder agreed that the mismanagement of the situation by government officials was similar to post-Katrina issues. “The checks and balances that theoretically could have been there didn’t work. This is a mess,” said Snyder.