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These 4 Videos Expose the Horrific Reality of the Flint Water Crisis

Health + Wellness

On Wednesday night, in a special edition of The Rachel Maddow Show, Maddow hosted a town hall meeting inside the Brownwell/Holmes STEM Academy, one of three Flint, Michigan, schools where the water inside was polluted well beyond the federal limit.

While Flint's water crisis has been well documented, Maddow said many may not know that the problem isn’t actually fixed yet. "Months after this problem was first acknowledged, and weeks after the state declared a disaster, the damaged pipes of Flint are still in the ground," Maddow said. "The water is still undrinkable, and there’s no timetable for when the pipes will be replaced and the issue rectified."

While the city has stopped getting its water from the corrosive Flint River and has restored its connection to Detroit’s water system, which comes from Lake Huron, "the damage is done to all of the pipes and that is why you still cannot drink the water here," Maddow says in the video below.

Over the course of the evening, Maddow hosted a number of experts, including Flint Mayor Karen Weaver; Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a pediatrician at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, who was the first to confirm the elevated lead levels in Flint’s children; Marc Edwards, a professor of engineering at Virginia Tech University who detailed the issue alongside University of Michigan professor Martin Kaufman; Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow; and Reverend Charles William III, a member of the civil rights organization National Action Network.

“Our trust has been broken in the city of Flint,” Weaver said, “and until we get safe pipes people are not going to trust the water.”

Lead is an “irreversible neurotoxin,” Hanna-Attisha explained. “Every kid in Flint is at risk,” she said, “but there are things that we can do” to mitigate the impact of lead, especially in children. She advocated for a "whole child approach" built on a healthy diet and top notch education to, as she put it, “take these lemons and make lemonade.”

As for fixing the pipes, that could be a slow process, Edwards explained. “What we’re struggling with here is that there is really no precedent for this kind of man-made disaster,” Edwards told the audience.

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He's working with fellow professor Kaufman to identify where the lead pipes are. "The pipes will have to be addressed in stages," MSNBC explained. "In the short term, they’ll need to be re-coated with a film to hold in the lead. In the long term, the only fix is ripping them out—every mile of them. No American city has ever done it."

There is plenty of finger-pointing going around, but one thing many people agree on is that Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder should resign. “All I got to say, is Governor Snyder got to go,” Williams said. “I would have been fired a long time ago.”

Actor and activist Matt Damon and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have also called for his resignation. Filmmaker and activist Michael Moore and singer Cher have even said Snyder should be imprisoned.

Watch Maddow and a panel of experts discuss the contributing factors that led to Flint's water crisis, and what state and federal authorities must do to help city residents:

Replacing the pipes could cost more than the homes are worth, Harold Harrington, a master plumber based in Flint, told Maddow. Watch Harrington explain to Maddow the financial challenges involved in fixing Flint's water problem:

Lastly, NBC News' Stephanie Gosk reports on how lead poisoning has taken a catastrophic toll on Flint's children, and Maddow discusses the dearth of resources in Flint for the city's children, and how to solve that problem:

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A volcano erupts on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island on Dec. 9, 2019. Michael Schade / Twitter

A powerful volcano on Monday rocked an uninhabited island frequented by tourists about 30 miles off New Zealand's coast. Authorities have confirmed that five people died. They expect that number to rise as some are missing and police officials issued a statement that flights around the islands revealed "no signs of life had been seen at any point,", as The Guardian reported.

"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," the police said in their official statement. "Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."

The eruption happened on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, an islet jutting out of the Bay of Plenty, off the country's North Island. The island is privately owned and is typically visited for day-trips by thousands of tourists every year, according to The New York Times.

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At the time of the eruption on Monday, about 50 passengers from the Ovation of Seas were on the island, including more than 30 who were part of a Royal Caribbean cruise trip, according to CNN. Twenty-three people, including the five dead, were evacuated from the island.

The eruption occurred at 2:11 pm local time on Monday, as footage from a crater camera owned and operated by GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazards agency, shows. The camera also shows dozens of people walking near the rim as white smoke billows just before the eruption, according to Reuters.

Police were unable to reach the island because searing white ash posed imminent danger to rescue workers, said John Tims, New Zealand's deputy police commissioner, as he stood next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a press conference, as The New York Times reported. Tims said rescue workers would assess the safety of approaching the island on Tuesday morning. "We know the urgency to go back to the island," he told reporters.

"The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island," Tims added, as CNN reported. "It's important that we consider the health and safety of rescuers, so we're taking advice from experts going forward."

Authorities have had no communication with anyone on the island. They are frantically working to identify how many people remain and who they are, according to CNN.

Geologists said the eruption is not unexpected and some questioned why the island is open to tourism.

"The volcano has been restless for a few weeks, resulting in the raising of the alert level, so that this eruption is not really a surprise," said Bill McGuire, emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, as The Guardian reported.

"White Island has been a disaster waiting to happen for many years," said Raymond Cas, emeritus professor at Monash University's school of earth, atmosphere and environment, as The Guardian reported. "Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter."

The prime minister arrived Monday night in Whakatane, the town closest to the eruption, where day boats visiting the island are docked. Whakatane has a large Maori population.

Ardern met with local council leaders on Monday. She is scheduled to meet with search and rescue teams and will speak to the media at 7 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EST), after drones survey the island, as CNN reported.