A US court approved a settlement on Wednesday for the victims of one of the nation's worst public health disasters. A judge approved 626 million dollars in compensation for residents of Flint, Michigan, who got sick when their drinking water was contaminated.
In 2014, the city needed to cut costs. Officials switched the water supply away from the system in nearby Detroit and drew from the Flint River. But they did not treat the water properly. Lead seeped from aging pipes.
Tens of thousands of people were exposed. Many lost their hair, developed rashes, or suffered from a bacterial disease. At least 12 people died.
Residents went to court and accused state and city officials of overlooking the risks to their health. The state will pay most of the settlement, much of it to children.
More than half the population of the city is African-American. Film director Michael Moore is from Flint and made a documentary about his hometown. He called what happened there a "racial crime."
Water is now drawn from the treated supply in Detroit. But officials in Flint have not replaced all the pipes. So, many residents still rely on bottled water for drinking, cooking and washing.