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Dr. Mona: $600 million Flint water settlement part of healing process

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha is pleased that a proposed $600 million Flint water crisis settlement...
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha is pleased that a proposed $600 million Flint water crisis settlement includes ongoing health and educational funding for children.(WJRT)
Published: Aug. 20, 2020 at 1:14 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - One of the first voices to raise alarms about the Flint water crisis in 2014 calls the proposed $600 million state settlement announced Thursday the next step in the healing process.

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, who leads the pediatric public health program at Hurley Medical Center, said restorative justice is part of the process for making amends to the thousands of children who ingested excessive levels of lead from their water in Flint.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced the proposed $600 million settlement on Thursday. A vast majority of the money will go to children who drank lead-tainted water from Flint’s municipal water system during the water crisis after April 25, 2014.

Hanna-Attisha said in a statement issued Thursday that the full healing process will take decades. But she believes the crisis should serve as a lesson to government now and in the future.

Hanna-Attisha said environmental injustice, bureaucracy, lost democracy, austerity, racism and deindustrialization left Flint “powerless and forgotten.” She called on government officials never to forget that protecting a community demands respect for science, equity and proactive steps to protect children.

“Never again should this country have to deal with the generational repercussions of a community poisoned by policies,” she said. “As we are all now amidst another preventable public health crisis, with so many parallels to Flint, money and resources only go so far.”

Hanna-Attisha was pleased to see the proposed settlement includes funding for ongoing health and education assistance for children affected by the water crisis. Excessive lead has been proven to cause developmental delays in children.

“I am grateful to learn that this settlement was driven by community voices and respects the science of child development,” she said.

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