Civil rights activist Jesse Jackson

Jackson: Flint residents “betrayed” by their government

Civil rights activist Jesse Jackson says Michigan’s governor needs to be held accountable for the city of Flint’s contaminated water.

FLINT, MICHIGAN, UNITED STATES (JANUARY 17, 2016) (NBC) – At a rally in Flint, Michigan on Sunday (January 17), Civil rights leader Reverend Jesse Jackson accused state and local officials in the city of compromising the health of locals to save money.

“Somebody made a trade off and the people of Flint have been betrayed by their own government. The people have been betrayed,” Jackson said as he met with locals at the Heavenly Host Church.

A financially struggling city, Flint was under control of a state-appointed emergency manager when it switched its source of tap water from Detroit’s system to the nearby Flint River in April 2014 to save money.

President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in Michigan on Saturday (January 16) and ordered federal aid for state and local response efforts in the county where the city of Flint has been contending with lead-contaminated drinking water.

At several rallies over the weekend, locals blamed the crisis on Michigan Governor Rick Snyder who they believe should have acted sooner to request federal assistance. Snyder sent the Michigan National Guard to distribute bottled water and other supplies in the area earlier this week.

Flint, which is about 60 miles (100 km) northwest of Detroit, returned to using that city’s water in October after tests found elevated levels of lead in the water and in the blood of some children.

Obama is authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts there, the White House said in a statement.