W.V. Spill Now a Disaster

    Water is distributed to residents at the South Charleston Community Center in Charleston, West Virginia, January 10, 2014. President Barack Obama issued an emergency declaration for the state of West Virginia on Friday, ordering federal aid in the aftermath of a chemical spill that has left up to 300,000 people without tap water, closed schools and businesses. REUTERS/Lisa Hechesky  (UNITED STATES - Tags: DISASTER) - RTX178O1

    Lisa Hechesky/Reuters

    Memo to West Virginians: don't drink the water. A chemical spill in a river has led to a tap water ban for up to 300,000 people in West Virginia, and has shut down bars and restaurants. The incident has been a declared a disaster by the federal government and Governor Earl Ray Tomblin. The contaminated water is reportedly giving off a licorice-like smell in the towns. Symptoms for those who drink the water include severe burning in throat, severe eye irritation, non-stop vomiting, trouble breathing or severe skin irritation such as skin blistering. “Right now, our priorities are our hospitals, nursing homes, and schools," the governor said in a statement.

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