Response to Flint water crisis ramping up

Jan 18, 2016

A nondescript warehouse on Flint’s north side is now the epicenter of the city’s response to its drinking water crisis.

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Forklifts are busy moving flats loaded with cases of bottled water from semis onto trucks that deliver them to local distribution centers. There are at least two million bottles of water in the warehouse at any one time.

“Actually ‘warehouse’ is a misnomer,” says Don Faust, the logistics manager for the American Red Cross. “It’s actually a pass-thru. We try to get everything that comes in to go out just as fast.”

Faust points to a part of the building where small trucks can drive through and pick up water, filters and lead testing kits. 

Water distribution efforts are increasing in Flint. The Michigan Army National Guard is doubling its footprint in the city, increasing the number of soldiers stationed at five city fire stations from 32 to 70. 

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Teams of volunteers and state police troopers are stepping up their efforts to reach people who can’t get to distribution centers. On Sunday, they knocked on nearly 5,000 doors. 

Don Faust has been with the Red Cross for ten years.  In that time, he’s responded to more than 50 disaster scenes. Faust says communities in Texas and Louisiana are more used to mobilizing after a disaster than Michigan. 

But Faust says Michigan is getting up to speed in Flint. 

“I’ve been here a week already and it’s already way beyond what we were seven days ago,” says Faust. 

Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to discuss the Flint water crisis during his State of the State address Tuesday.