US & Canada

Michigan seeks US government aid in water crisis

National Guard Image copyright AP
Image caption The National Guard has been assisting residents of Flint with obtaining bottled water

Michigan is seeking millions in US government aid for the water crisis in Flint, where the water has become contaminated with lead.

Governor Rick Snyder is requesting $31 million (£22 million) from the federal government because the need "far exceeds the state's capability".

The state has applied for a federal disaster declaration, which the Obama administration will consider.

The city's water became contaminated after switching suppliers in 2014.

Corrosive water leached lead from old pipes into the water supply.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Rick Snyder has come under fire for how he has handled the water crisis

Michigan's attorney general has said he will investigate the water crisis whether any state laws were violated.

The lack of clean water in Flint "is a human tragedy in which families are struggling even with the most basic parts of daily life", said Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it will send a recommendation to President Barack Obama as "expeditiously as possible".

Mr Snyder has already declared an emergency in Flint due to the water situation. Local officials deemed it a public health emergency in October.

Residents complained of discoloured water, bad smells and headaches and rashes from using the water from the city's new supplier.

The city switched its water source from the city of Detroit to the Flint River in 2014.

They have since switched back to Detroit's water.

In October, testing revealed increased lead levels in water supplies and in children's blood. Lead exposure can cause learning disabilities and behavioural problems in children.

Mr Snyder has been criticised for how he has handled the water crisis, with protesters calling for him to resign.

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