Doing something to help. Cher is offering assistance to the people of Flint, Michigan, whose water supply has been contaminated with lead since 2014.
The singer wants to make sure that the town's 100,000 residents have access to clean water and has teamed up with Icelandic Glacial to donate 181,440 bottles of water to the city.
"This is a tragedy of staggering proportion and shocking that it's happening in the middle of our country," Cher, 69, said in a statement Saturday, January 16. "I am so grateful that Icelandic Glacial has come on board to help the city of Flint. I cannot wait for the water to get there to help these people who have been poisoned because the water they've been getting out of their taps has been polluted for so long and remains that way without the state or federal government stepping in with any substantial plan to resolve this problem."
Icelandic Glacial has committed to doubling Cher's purchase and the water is being trucked into Michigan beginning Monday, January 18. The empty bottles will later be recycled, with money going back to local food banks.
Flint's drinking water became contaminated in 2014 after the city temporarily switched its supply source from Lake Huron to the more corrosive and polluted Flint River in a cost-cutting move. Lead, which causes brain damage and other health problems in children, leached into the town's water from pipes.
Despite residents complaining about the water, and a pediatrician presenting a report about elevated levels of lead in the blood of children living in Flint, the problem was not publicly acknowledged until October 2015.
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder declared a state of emergency January 5, and on Saturday afternoon, President Barack Obama declared a federal emergency in Flint, freeing up to $5 million in federal aid, the Detroit Free Press reports.
The money will go toward water filters, filter cartridges and other items for residents.
Filmmaker Michael Moore, a former Flint-area resident, returned to his hometown on Saturday to insist that the president visit Flint to see the scope of the crisis for himself. The Associated Press reports that Moore also asked for the U.S. attorney general to arrest and prosecute Governor Snyder because he "knew that toxins, pollutants and eventually lead was leaching into water and being sent into the taps of people's homes."
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