“I just want to say the president has granted our request for an emergency declaration,” Flint Mayor Karen Weaver smiled broadly as she told a crowded news conference at city hall Saturday afternoon.
The declaration will mean federal assistance in getting bottled water and filters to help the city deal with its lead tainted water supply. A switch to the Flint River as the city's drinking water source created toxic levels of lead in the tap water.
Weaver says FEMA will also now begin an assessment of conditions in the city and “see what happens next.” The mayor says the disaster declaration is “just the first step.”
“The fight is not over,” says Weaver, “but this is a huge hurdle that we have surpassed."
Weaver started the ball rolling last month when she declared a ‘State of Emergency’. Genesee County officials followed suit and placed the issue in front of the governor. Governor Rick Snyder sent the request to the Obama administration this week.
Weaver says she’s hoping to set up a meeting with the Obama administration.
The president is scheduled to be in Michigan next week to attend the North America International Auto Show.
Weaver would like the president to add Flint to his agenda.
“When would we not like to see the president in Flint?” the mayor asked.