Flint, Michigan, is in the midst of a crisis because of a contaminated water supply.
For two years, a threat has been imposed upon residents and is now in the forefront of the nation’s attention. Unhealthy drinking water has plagued the community by disrupting the health and livelihood of thousands of people. While some claim corruption, others just demand a call to action, righting the wrongs that have disrupted the lives of many.
Here are things to note about the situation so far:
1. Flint switched water sources in order to cut costs.
In April 2014, officials from the office of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder approved funneling water from the Flint River for resident’s supply, reports CNN. The change from Lake Huron, the town’s previous water supply, provided a new water source that reportedly contained more salt and flowed through corroded pipes that were pulling lead into the water stream.
2. Thousands of children have been exposed to lead.
According to census information as stated by USA TODAY, 8,657 children have been exposed to lead poisoning from drinking the water since the first report of contamination. Local pediatrician Mona Hanna-Attisha told CNN that lead levels in toddlers doubled since the water supply change.
3. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders called for Gov. Snyder’s resignation.
Sanders called for the resignation, citing there were “no excuses” for the issues regarding the water crisis. On Saturday, the Vermont senator issued a statement, which said that “the Governor long ago knew about the lead in Flint’s water. He did nothing. As a result, hundreds of children were poisoned [and] thousands may have been exposed to potential brain damage from lead.”
On Sunday, Snyder tweeted, “Political statements and finger pointing from political candidates only distract from solving the Flint water crisis.”
4. Three state of emergencies have been issued for the Michigan city.
NBC News announced that newly elected Mayor Karen Weaver and Gov. Rick Snyder both declared states of emergency in January 2016 for Flint residents. Snyder called in the help of the National Guard to deliver clean water to nearly 100,000 people.
President Obama issued a state of emergency and requested that FEMA deliver water, water filters, cartridges and water test kits to “save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in Genessee County.”
5. An estimated $1.5 billion is the cost of repair for the city’s damaged distribution system.
After warning residents to refrain from consuming water, Mayor Weaver said the city will partner with the state of Michigan to help repair the infrastructure of the water system, resolve the issue and to help the city move forward, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Gov. Snyder has asked for $28 million in funds to provide, “bottled water, filters, replacement filters; assistance to Flint to help with utility-related issues; testing and replacing fixtures in schools and other high-risk locations; treatment of children with high lead levels; services for the treatment of potential behavioral health issues; support for children and adolescent health centers; [and] an infrastructure integrity study for pipes and connections.
6. Three lawsuits have been filed on behalf of Flint residents, including two class-action suits and a federal lawsuit.
ABC News reports that the suits were filed against Gov. Snyder, Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, the State Department of Environmental Quality, and government and county officials.
7. Celebrities have been vocal about the Flint water crisis.
The people of Flint deserve better. Flint is in a state of emergency & thank God the National Guard is able to deliver clean water.
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 19, 2016
Why we worried about the Oscars? We need to be worried about what’s going on in Flint and Chicago. Mlk didn’t die for shows and trophies.— Young Jeezy (@Jeezy) January 19, 2016
This is not a natural disaster, this is not a mistake, this is clearly some real dirty work going on! unacceptable! Explain Governor? #Flint— Big Sean (@BigSean) January 19, 2016