More than 30 National Guard troops have been called to help address the devastating water crisis in Flint, Michigan, in which the city’s attempt to save money by switching from the Detroit water system to the Flint River has resulted in the widespread lead poisoning of Flint’s children. The city has already returned to using the Detroit water system.
Officials have already confirmed that the lead poisoning, which occurred as a result of the poor corrosive control of the water system’s lead pipes, will undoubtedly lead to health problems, including potential developmental disabilities, in young children, and that plans for their future care have become necessary.
The city is now relying on scores of bottled water to get by, and Michigan’s Governor Rick Snyder has promised that schools and daycare centers will get first access to water filters and testing kits — though Snyder, who is under heavy criticism for not acting on the issue sooner. Medical authorities, meanwhile, warn that the effects of Flint’s ill-advised cost-cutting measure are long-term, and the consequences to residents’ health could take up to 10 years to show up.
Flint’s mayor, Karen Weaver, who declared a state of emergency a full month before Snyder, is expected to meet with FEMA officials in Washington to discuss Flint’s next steps.