Update June 14:
On Tuesday, five health officials in Flint, Michigan, were charged with involuntary manslaughter for the deaths which occurred as a result of the tainted water supply, reported the New York Times.
After the city switched its water supplier in 2014, 12 people died from Legionnaires’ disease and many children were poisoned. Bill Schuette, Michigan’s attorney general, announced one death in particular led to the manslaughter charges. These charges will be added to a list which has already been brought against 13 officials.
Robert Skidmore, 85, died on Dec. 13, 2015, while he was tending to his wife in a Flint hospital. While he took care of her, Skidmore grew ill from the water.
Mr. Schuette said that Nick Lyon, the director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and four other state and local officials failed to inform the public about the Legionnaires’ outbreak.
“It’s a very tragic story,” Mr. Schuette said, adding later, “The family had to bury their mother and their father.”
If convicted of involuntary manslaughter and misconduct in office, Mr. Lyon faces up to 20 years in prison.
Previous May 5:
Residents in Flint, Michigan, are outraged after receiving foreclosure threats for unpaid water bills. Although the city has only just started replacing the lead-poisoned water supply, homeowners have been instructed to either pay outstanding water bills or risk losing their property.
City officials mailed over 8,000 warning letters to residents after the state ended the program which paid for many of the residents’ water bills.
The city is demanding the affected residents pay their water bills even though many of them still wait in line for bottled water because they cannot use the water that comes from their tap.
“I’m not going to give them one penny,” a resident who owed over $800 told the Toronto Star.
As of now, the city needs to collect more than $5.8 million in water and sewer charges.
“This is difficult for residents, too,” city spokeswoman Kristin Moore told the Washington Post. “It’s a tough place to be in, but we’re just trying to do the best we can.”
Flint’s water crisis began in 2014 when a state-appointed manager switched Flint’s water supply from a lake to the Flint River. The change resulted in the poisoning of the city’s children and several deaths.
(Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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