Residents and business owners from Flint, Michigan, could have access to a massive compensation fund to help them recover from the water crisis that started in 2014.
A preliminary settlement announced Thursday in the class-action lawsuit between the residents of Flint and the top Michigan officials at the time of the water crisis revealed that the state intends to establish a $600 million victim compensation fund to help those harmed by the 2014 decision to change the city's water source to an unsafe supply that had dangerously high levels of lead.
“The residents of Flint were victims of horrendous decisions by the state, its employees, and other defendants that have resulted in tragic and devastating consequences," said Ted Leopold, an attorney representing the people of Flint. "While we can never undo the damage that occurred to the citizens and community of Flint, we are pleased that today we were able to secure a measure of justice for the ... Flint community."
The victim's compensation fund will provide the most money to children who consumed the tainted water because lead is most toxic in the brains of growing children, according to a report from the Detroit Free Press. Children who were under the age of 18 at the time of the crisis will receive 80% of the $600 million, with the majority of that money going to children who were under 6 years old. The state will also set aside funds to establish long-term, special education resources for children whose brain development suffered because of the water.
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