Feds vow support for Flint despite lapsing disaster declaration

Feds vow support for Flint despite lapsing disaster declaration
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Federal agencies say they will continue providing support for recovery efforts in Flint, Mich., even after a federal disaster declaration for the city expires next week. 

President Obama in January signed a disaster declaration for Flint in light of the drinking water crisis in the city. That declaration meant the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) committed to paying 75 percent of the costs associated with some of the aid efforts there. 

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The declaration expires on Aug. 14, but the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wednesday said that deadline wouldn’t be the end of their support for the city. 

“We remain as dedicated today to the Flint community's recovery as we were when President Obama declared an emergency in January," HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Nicole Lurie said in a statement. Lurie is leading the federal response in Flint.

“The many programs, services, resources and benefits now available in Flint do not depend on the declaration, and they will continue for months and in some cases for years to come."

FEMA has provided more than 20 million liters of water for Flint since January, officials said, as well as 243,000 water filter cartridges and 50,000 water and pitcher filters. 

After Aug. 14, the state of Michigan will pick up 100 percent of costs associated with distributing water and filters. 

Other federal offerings will continue, the agencies said, such as EPA water monitoring, HHS healthcare services, a meal subsidy program for children and grants for temporary employment opportunities there.

“I want to assure residents of Flint that the city, along with our federal and state partners, will continue efforts to support Flint’s recovery after the federal declaration ends on the August 14,” Flint Mayor Karen Weaver said in a statement. 

“Filters, replacement cartridges and bottled water will continue to be distributed at no charge. Other support services that have been in put in place will continue as well.”