Flint water crisis settles US $ 600 million

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WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES – The US state of Michigan has agreed to pay some US $ 600 million to victims of the Flint water crisis, a health scandal that has become a symbol of social injustice in America, officials said Thursday. The settlement could result in payments to tens of thousands of people, children and adults, who may have ingested lead-contaminated drinking water after the town of Flint changed the source of its water system in 2014 to reduce costs.

“What happened to Flint should never have happened, and financial compensation with this settlement is just one of the many ways we can continue to show our support for the Town of Flint and its families.” Governor Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement.

She called the suffering and delays in resolving the issue “shameful” and acknowledged that the settlement “may not provide everything Flint needs.”

Napoli Shkolnick PLLC, the law firm representing the victims in their trial, said the settlement included the state, town of Flint, former state and town employees and former Governor Richard Snyder .

“The Flint community and the children have suffered a lot; this settlement is the start of the process of healing and supporting this important community, ”said lawyer Paul Napoli.

At least 12 people have died after the decaying industrial city switched its source of drinking water to the polluted Flint River to cut costs in 2014.

However, authorities did not add corrosion controls to the new tap water source, which allowed lead and other contaminants to leach out of the city’s aging pipe system.

Authorities initially dismissed complaints from residents of the predominantly black city, where many live below the poverty line.

They were ultimately pressured into action following national attention and pressure from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Most of the money goes to children in the town of Flint, who were most at risk of neurological and physical damage from lead-contaminated tap water.

More than 8,000 children are thought to have consumed lead-contaminated water, and one study found that the proportion of infants and children with high levels of lead doubled after the water source was changed.

The Washington Post reported that 80 percent of the colony would go to residents who were exposed when they were under 18.

The city and state have since taken steps to improve water quality, including a return to a cleaner water source and a project to replace Flint’s aging pipe network.

Last week, the city announced it would complete the replacement of lead-contaminated pipes by November 30, more than a year later than promised.

Criminal charges against eight people accused of playing a role in the health debacle, including senior officials, were dropped last year.

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