After the change in the source from treated Lake Huron water (via Detroit) to the Flint River, the city’s drinking water had a series of issues that culminated with lead contamination, creating a serious public health danger. The corrosive Flint River water caused lead from aging pipes to leach into the water supply, causing extremely elevated levels of lead. As a result, between 6,000 and 12,000 residents had severely high levels of lead in the blood and experienced a range of serious health problems. The water change is also a possible cause of an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the county that has killed 10 people and affected another 77.
On November 13, 2015, four families filed a federal class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit against Governor Rick Snyder and thirteen other city and state officials, and three separate people filed a similar suit in state court two months later, and three more lawsuits were filed after that. Separately, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan and the Michigan Attorney General’s office opened investigations. On January 5, 2016, the city was declared to be in a state of emergency by the Governor of Michigan, before President Obama declared the crisis as a federal state of emergency, authorizing additional help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security less than two weeks later.
In the face of this state of emergency, Embrace Relief has partnered with Turkish American Society of Michigan and is starting a fundraiser to help alleviate the situation in Flint, MI in response to this national disaster.
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