Flint residents are still processing the announcement regarding the $600 million settlement in the Flint water crisis.
For a city that saw its health decline before its eyes for years, the money is hard fought and well-deserved. Many residents still have questions though.
They wonder how much money the lawyers are going to get or what the exact numbers are going to be.
Their distrust in government and officials is deep seeded and long-lasting.
Gina Luster’s faith in government is shattered. While she will be trying to get some of the Flint Water Crisis settlement money, what she lost during those tough years can never be brought back.
“No amount of money can satisfy what we’ve lost, but I think this is setting a precedent to all other cities and states that you’re gonna have to be held accountable for your actions,” said Luster.
Luster’s vision worsened, her hair fell out and her weight fluctuated.
She attests all of that to the lead in the water.
Her daughter Kennedy celebrated her sixth birthday on the day the water source was switched. Her baby teeth crumbled as they came out, and she’s still feeling the effects of the water years later.
“My bones hurt then, it wasn’t really a big pain, but now, it’s starting to hurt a lot worse,” said Kennedy.
If there’s an upside to the crisis, Luster said it’s that the community is more aware and involved than ever.
“We’re well-equipped on government and science,” said Luster. “And that was one of the good things that came out of it, even through it was such a bad disaster and still is.”
That awareness extends to the settlement money.
One Flint man said the money doesn’t mean anything to him. The emotional and mental toll from the crisis is something money can’t fix.
“It’s almost like we got PTSD with the water because we don’t really drink it comfortably. Like, you know what I’m saying. When people actually lost their lives to it,” said Craig Davis, Flint resident.
That feeling of PTSD is shared by other residents.
On top of that, Davis is a coronavirus survivor. He said trying to get bottled water at the store was tough enough during the water crisis. The pandemic only made it worse.