Transcript for Flint Mayor Discusses Water Crisis
Over the weekend I declared a federal emergency influence. To send more resources on top of the assistance that we party put on the ground. We've designated a federal coordinator to make sure the people flick get what they need from their country. Yesterday I met with the mayor Weaver. In the White House in the Oval Office and I told her that we are gonna have her back and all the people of flinch back as they work their way through. This terrible tragedy. And this week's issue of time magazine features a cover story entitled. The poisoning of an American city about the devastating and terrifying water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Take a look. Imagine water that flows into your home that your children drinking and bathing and was employees into and the government knew about it yet. Failed to keep you safe. It was a terrifying reality that Flint, Michigan mayor Karen Weaver face when she took office just two months ago. This is something. They don't again in April 2014. When an emergency management team appointed by governor Rick Snyder made the catastrophic decision. To implement and money seeking planned to draw drinking water from the Flint river. Without properly treating the water. This resulted in a city wide contamination of the water supply. It had children testing positive for lead poisoning. And once the scandal broke it dominated national headlines leading the White House to declare a state of emergency. And we keep up to five million dollars and FEMA money to deal with the crisis and just this week to separate class action since. I filed on behalf of it is. But federal aid and legal action and national headlines. Provided no comfort for the thousands of affected residents. Many of them came. And here via satellite to give us an update on this tragedy is the mayor of a Flint Karen Weaver and I do want to mention we will be talking to share. And just a moment and a she's a big advocate for your city but. Let's get right into this mayor Weaver he stepped in did this two months ago you took that job everyone wants to politicize this right now but we're talking about lead poisoning. Potential irreversible. A fax and brain damage what's being done to help your citizens. Yet you're absolutely right that is what we're talking about is is lit poisoning. And so right now what's being done you know we have. Some programs going on we have bottled water being handed out yet filters being given out we're continuing to test the water. But that's not enough. I know you sit that the president has declared an emergency and FEMA has come down we have the National Guard there. But what we're dealing with right now are still ban date with bells are Bendix that we need but we know we need a lot more we need finances we need supports for our kids and families. We have to put services and place. Because we deserve to be taken care of we don't deserve we didn't deserve what happened to us. But we certainly deserve the resources to be able to take care of the kids and families and our community. And and mayor this is sunny Hostin and certainly. You will have to take care of these these children because we know that let lead poisoning. Is forever it actually drops a child's IQ and you can't mitigate the impact. Of an irreversible neuro toxin is so my question to you is. On the New York Times had an article. About environmental racism and set that this is it is why this happened and and let's face it seven you know Flynt is only seventy miles. From from the Great Lakes which is the largest group of freshwater bodies in the world 40%. Of the people in Flint live in poverty the city doesn't even have. A grocery store so isn't it true. That because the city doesn't have political clout. That is why this happens. Well that's what many of us believed and it's something that a lot of people don't wanna talk about don't want to deal with because it's always at a difficult subject. But what else can we think and you look at what happened you know we're in Flint and every place around us is getting clean water matters. And like you sit where the Great Lakes state we should have access to water. And for that switch to be made without due diligence being done as far as putting in the proper treatment and testing before you give it to the people. But that that's a travesty. Are are you are you prepared to say that this was environmental racism that this happened because. The citizens of Flint are African American. Not only African American Lee Oslo I had issues with think it's a class issue was well. Because we do not have so many unemployed people so we're looking at this as race S class and it got it cuts across the board. And I believe that that's actually why the local NAACP state and national all spoken out. About this as well we believe had this been a different community. Of rich community that this. It would have taken so long for the people's voices to be hurt because this has been going on it'll be two years in April. That we've been dealing with this and it took a year at least for our voices to be hurt and you talked about some of that it happened under emergency management. And emergency managers seems to happen and predominantly African American communities. Mayor this is Sarah that you just mentioned the crisis is really big going on for two years now. And we it was the water contamination. Discovered at which government officials knew what was going on. Well you know what I that's what we're still trying to get the actual correct information about. Residents and something was wrong immediately after the switch you know it was a no brainer to us that something is wrong because. No one could tell us that brown water was safe to drink and it was brown or smells funny it tasted funny. If you didn't have those kinds of symptoms you noticed that when you lost your clothes they didn't feel right you have to wash your shower much more frequently. People hit skin issues here issues you know falling out. And we had some families who wouldn't notice some developmental issues with their children and that's when things really got started but no one hurt their crop. And it took. A year of people protest in pastors coming together and speaking out I remember when I was campaigning. As if it's possible to take off your hat as. As a candidate in a campaign that's what I'm doing because I'm a licensed clinical psychologist. And I had an ethical and moral responsibility. To speak up and speak out about this because on the damage that it could do. And I had a press conference in September talking about this. But it didn't get much traction and that was the same time right after that doctor outwards from Virginia Tech. Spoke out. And that really got the ball rolling and the very next week our medical community thank god for them have been doing some testing. And they came to the forefront as well and that's when things really gotten hold thing. Okay this is joy speaking Michigan governor Rick Snyder has apologize. Saying he will take a quote unquote full responsibility for fixing this so called catastrophe quote unquote. That's it those are his club's. Just this morning he claimed that it was civil servants from the department of environmentally. Plot out quality. Who failed to make the water in Flint said Bernie Sanders filmmaker Michael Moore and many protesters and called for his resignation. Now do you think Governor Snyder needs to step down. You know what that and that's a real little when and that's something that's that the governor needs to decide that because we have been seeing resignations one of the things we've been waiting for in due to flip for a long long time is for people to be held accountable. And you see. It's starting to happen. There's an investigation going on right now on several levels and we're very anxious to see the results of both levels because. I think it's going to show us across the board left asking who knew what when we haven't gotten. That actual information and that's what we've been waiting for and whoever is implicated as being. Are responsible for this from the governor down. Needs to do that and I think it's going to be more than just one person we've seen three resignations already I'm looking for more to come but whoever's implicated there. That's what needs to happen they have to be held accountable and that's what we want it's been it's been an interesting situation for me because in the meantime. You know he's the governor. And so I've been working top I have. Have to work with whoever is in place so my responsibility is really been to stay focused on one of the services what are the finances what do we need. And make sure that happens while he's there you don't if he continues to stay I want to make sure we get what we need of what we deserve because we didn't deserve what. Happened to us in the city of flat. And mayor I know that your it I just wanna mention to governor Rick Snyder did release all of the transcript of his emails from 2015. There was no discussion of race it was all about cost relating. And cost cutting but. You bring up a good point rather than politicizing do something about it we know there's culpability at every level of government local state federal and we just want to say thank you for joining us and we are sending our spots. And our prayers to the people of Flint, Michigan.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.