Flint water crisis: State agrees to settle $ 600 million for victims | American News

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The US state of Michigan said it has reached a preliminary deal to pay $ 600 million (£ 455 million) to victims of the water crisis in Flint.

In a deal that could close a chapter on one of the country’s worst public health disasters in recent memory, most of the money would go to children affected by the poisoning.

Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement that, if approved, it would be the largest settlement in state history.

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Most of the settlement money will go to children affected by the crisis

It is the culmination of 18 months of discussions on how to compensate people who have fallen ill from tap water, after state officials changed the city’s supply there. is six years old.

This decision sparked a crisis that sparked national and international outrage.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who inherited the crisis when she took office in 2019, admitted the compensation would not solve all of the city’s problems and pledged to continue to allocate resources to ensure the health of the city. Flint’s water.

“What happened to Flint should never have happened,” she said in taped remarks.

“The uncertainty and the problems that the people of Flint have endured are unacceptable. It is time for the state to do what it can. ”

The settlement is subject to the approval of a Michigan federal judge.

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Barack Obama publicly drank a glass of filtered Flint water in a meeting with Michigan local and federal officials

A Supreme Court ruling in January allowed residents of Flint to pursue a civil rights lawsuit that accused the town and government officials of knowingly allowing the water supply to be contaminated with lead.

Flint changed its public water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River to cut costs during a financial crisis.

But the corrosive water from the river caused lead to leach from the pipes, causing very high levels of heavy metal neurotoxin and exposing more than 100,000 residents to high levels of lead.

The city returned to the water from Lake Huron the following year.

Court records said more than 25,000 people were injured by exposure to contaminants in Flint, including more than 5,000 children under the age of 12.

As part of the settlement, a total of 79.5% of the money will be allocated to children exposed to water, the majority of whom were under six at the time of the crisis.

About 18% will go to adults and property damage settlement.

LeeAnne Walters, a 42-year-old resident of Flint, welcomed the fact that the deal was focused on children.

She said her twin sons, now nine, had seen a speech-language pathologist after a pediatrician diagnosed them with an obstruction caused by lead in the water.

“Even today we are still suffering from the rashes that started in 2014, all of us,” she said.

“Everything that was in that water back then affects us today. ”

The settlement will resolve more than 100 state and federal cases if approved, Ms. Nessel said.

But she added that lawsuits brought by her predecessor against a subsidiary of French water company Veolia and Houston-based engineering services firm Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam (LAN), would continue unless they failed. join the settlement in 45 days.

Veolia North America and LAN have not yet commented on this development.

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