FLINT, Mich. (WWJ/AP) — The Rev. Jesse Jackson says Flint, Michigan, residents coping with a drinking water crisis “have been betrayed.”

The civil rights leader told a crowd at a church Sunday in Flint that the full effect of the lead contamination of the city’s tap water is not yet known.

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He says there should be “tape around the city, because Flint is a crime scene.”

The water became contaminated after Flint switched from the Detroit water system to the Flint River as a cost-cutting move. The corrosive water lacked adequate treatment and caused lead to leach from old pipes.

Jackson’s comments came a day after President Barack Obama signed an emergency declaration that clears the way for federal aid.

Authorities and volunteers have already been distributing free water, filters and other supplies.

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Flint mayor Karen Weaver, elected in November as the city’s first female mayor, said that bottled water and water filters are some of the most important resources the city can receive.

“For almost two years, the people have been crying out,” Weaver said live on WWJ Newsradio 950. “But they’ve been rallying and one of the things is that we never gave up hope, we didn’t stop.”

The federal government will supply $5 million that will be used the emergency, 25 percent of which the state must match. If the $5 million is exhausted, Congress has the option to approve additional funding.

“They are going to be coordinating some services here as far as what we’ve been doing with water and filters, and they’re going to be assessing what’s happening in our city and determining what needs to happen next,” Weaver said.

 

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