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Flint pediatrician asks Congress for money, programs

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Michigan health and environmental department chiefs were in Washington today  to explain the state’s response to the Flint water crisis to members of Congress.

Nick Lyons directs the state Department of Health and Human Services. He said it’s plain the state should have done more sooner.

“I know the people of Flint are hurt,” he said. “They are upset. I know there is anger and mistrust. Rightfully so.”

But state and federal officials say they can’t predict how long it will take before the water is drinkable without being filtered.

The pediatrician who first called attention to high lead levels in Flint’s water also testified. Doctor Mona Hanna-Attisha called the water crisis the equivalent of a natural disaster that will require lots of state and federal assistance, and will take decades to remedy. She says the aid packages that have been approved so far are short-term.

“And while these are helpful and appreciated, most are, unfortunately, only temporary expansions or increases in funding, and will not adequately address the long-term needs of Flint’s children," she said.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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