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Obama signs Michigan emergency declaration

WASHINGTON D.C. – President Barack Obama declared that an emergency exists in the state of Michigan and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts Saturday afternoon in response to a request from Governor Snyder on Thursday.

The President’s action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate all disaster relief efforts in Genesee County.

FEMA has been authorized to identify, mobilize and provide equipment and resources necessary to alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the contaminated water in Flint and avert the threat of a catastrophe.

FEMA said Saturday in a statement that federal emergency aid has been made available to the state of Michigan to supplement state and local response efforts in the area affected by contaminated water beginning on April 25, 2014, and continuing.

Gov. Rick Snyder requested the federal declaration Friday, saying needs "far exceed the state's capability." He says emergency measures could cost $41 million.

"I appreciate the President approving my federal emergency request and supporting Flint during this critical situation," Snyder said. "I have pledged to use all state resources possible to help heal Flint, and these additional resources will greatly assist in efforts underway to ensure every resident has access to clean water resources."

The emergency assistance will provide water, water filters, water filter cartridges, water tests kits and other necessary items for a period of no more than 90 days.

The emergency measures are authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act. Under the act, resources totaling $5 million can be used for federal emergencies, and the state is required to match 25 percent.

FEMA said emergency protective measures, limited to direct federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent federal funding.

Snyder had also requested a major disaster declaration, which was denied based on the legal requirement that disaster relief is available only for natural events, fires, floods or explosions. The state is actively reviewing the process for appealing the disaster declaration denial.

FEMA said David G. Samaniego was named as the federal coordinating officer for federal response operations in the affected area.

Officials: Water distribution efforts expanded Saturday

Officials with the Flint Water Response Team said water distribution efforts were expanded Saturday with more than 20 water response teams going door to door to distribute safe water resources to the homes of Flint residents.

The teams consist of state personnel and American Red Cross volunteers, including 250 state of Michigan employees and their family members who will volunteer through Monday, officials said.

For Flint water assistance, donation or volunteer information, dial 211 or click here.