Gov. Rick Snyder late tonight asked President Obama to declare both an emergency and an expedited major disaster for Genesee County. The request comes as a result of ongoing emergency water response efforts in the city of Flint.
Flint’s water crisis only qualifies for federal emergency status, and not natural disaster assistance, because it is a man-made disaster.
A release from Snyder's press office says if federal aid is granted, assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and other programs to help people and businesses recover.
“We are utilizing all state resources to ensure Flint residents have access to clean and safe drinking water and today I am asking President Obama to provide additional resources as our recovery efforts continue,” Snyder said.
Snyder’s request will be reviewed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which will advise President Obama whether an emergency and major disaster declaration should be granted. Ultimately, the president will determine whether to provide federal assistance.
Snyder and other state officials have been criticized for not reacting sooner to evidence that numerous problems resulted from Flint's switch from the DSWD to the Flint River as its water source, including high levels of lead. That decision was made while Flint was under the control of a state appointed emergency manager.
Earlier this week, Snyder requested support from FEMA to help coordinate an interagency recovery plan with other federal agencies to provide resources to Flint.