Cher donation to help US town hit by water crisis

Singer Cher will donate water to the residents of a city that is struggling with a drinking water crisis linked to lead contamination.

The singer and actress said in a statement more than 180,000 bottles will be shipped to the city of Flint, Michigan, from Monday.

“This is a tragedy of staggering proportion and shocking that it’s happening in the middle of our country,” the Oscar winner said.

Flint’s 100,000 residents have not had access to safe drinking water since 2014, when officials started drawing water from the Flint River as a temporary cost-cutting measure while a pipeline was built from Lake Huron.

However, the corrosive water was not treated properly, which led to metal leaching from old pipes.

Residents have been complaining that the foul-smelling water is making them vomit, break out in rashes, and lose their hair.

State officials initially downplayed concerns over levels of lead, but then committed $10.6m to reconnect the city with Detroit and to install filters, testing, and other services.

Flint returned to using Detroit water in October.

U.S. President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in Michigan on Saturday and ordered federal aid for state and local response efforts in the county.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder had asked the president to declare both an emergency and an expedited major disaster in Genesee County to protect the safety of Flint residents.

Obama is authorising the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts, the White House said in a statement. The action is being taken to “lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in Genesee County”, it said.


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