Michigan National Guard members are expected to arrive in Flint Wednesday after Gov. Rick Snyder, who declared a state of emergency, asked for federal help in distributing water to residents who still have contaminated tap water.
“As we work to ensure that all Flint residents have access to clean and safe drinking water, we are providing them with the direct assistance they need in order to stretch our resources further,” Snyder said in a statement viewed by the Detroit News.
“The Michigan National Guard is trained and ready to assist the citizens of Flint,” he said.
Last week Snyder declared a state of emergency in response to high levels of lead in Flint’s water after the city redirected Flint’s water supply from Detroit Water’s Lake Huron source, a safe and tested drinking source, to the Flint River in 2014. Residents immediately began complaining that the faucet water was brown and unsafe to drink and smelled bad.
Scientists were finally called to test the water in October and confirmed what many residents suspected, that the water was unsafe to drink. The city switched the water supply back to the Detroit Water system in mid-October, “but state officials said this week the city’s drinking water is still not considered safe,” the Detroit News reports.
Snyder has faced harsh criticism for his role in the handling of the situation and lack of foresight in redirecting the water supply of Flint, a majority-African-American city, to an untested and unsafe site.
Filmmaker Michael Moore has called for Snyder’s arrest.
Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), whose congressional district includes Flint Township, told the Detroit News that “Flint needs more action and less talk from Gov. Snyder,” and noted that he welcomes the Michigan National Guard’s support.
“At the State of the Union tonight, I spoke to President Obama and reiterated my call for federal assistance due to the lack of a sufficient response from the state,” Kildee said in a statement late Tuesday. “I will continue to do everything I can to get immediate resources to help address this ongoing crisis.”