Mississippi capital’s water woes persist as aid trickles in | Joe Biden News

The White House says a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) official is scheduled to visit the US state of Mississippi, amid ongoing efforts to restore a flooded, troubled water system. ages ago long ago.

In Mississippi’s capital, JacksonResidents have lined up at emergency distribution points for bottled water to drink and flush their toilets after flooding exacerbated problems at one of the city’s two water treatment plants. at the beginning of this week.

Residents in Jackson, a predominantly black city, have long struggled with a faulty water system that frequently requires them to boil water before using it. They had orders to boil water before the floods prompted the current crisis, leaving many without water.

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency on Monday and the National Guard was called in, while President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration on Tuesday, directing his administration to increase federal support for the area.

“We provided everything that was available to Mississippi. The governor must act. There is money to solve this problem. We have given them an EPA [Environmental Protection Agency]. We gave them everything there was to offer,” Biden said late on Thursday.

While the president says he has no plans to visit Mississippi yet, he has spoken to people in the state. including the mayor of Jackson, Democrat Chokwe Antar Lumumba. He did not specifically say whether he spoke to Reeves, a Republican.

FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell plans to visit the state on Friday, said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

Officials said they had made progress overnight in refilling tanks, treating water and boosting pressure at the OB Curtis Water Plant, the site of the most recent water disaster. The city said in a statement that residents living near the facility had near-normal pressure, but added that many in the city still had little or no water pressure.

“It’s just amazing,” Shirley Harrington, a Jackson resident, said on Thursday. “It’s like playing Russian roulette. You don’t know you’ll wake up with water, don’t know if you have water or not, don’t know what state the water is in. There’s a lot of sayings: ‘Don’t drink’, ‘Don’t use’, “You can use, but don’t drink,” so you’re like, “What do I really do?”

Black Voters Matter, a nonprofit group focused on expanding Black voter participation, says the water crisis in Jackson is the result of systemic racism that has led to decades of forgotten.

“Jackson, 82.5% Black, is another example of the pattern of neglect that Black and Brown voters have faced across the South, in which state and local governments ignore ignore human rights and basic needs in our communities,” the group said in a statement statement.

At a press conference on Thursday, Reeves announced the opening of seven locations to distribute potable water, non-potable water and hand sanitizer. The new “big sites” follow smaller distribution efforts at city fire stations, churches, nonprofits, and businesses.

The governor also said 600 National Guard members are assisting in the response. “To everyone in the city: I know that you are facing a very unfair situation,” said Reeves. “It’s annoying, it’s wrong and it needs to be fixed.”

Water distribution
Residents of Golden Keys Senior Living apartments flock to a trailer filled with water delivered by AIDS Healthcare in Jackson, Mississippi [Steve Helber/AP Photo]

The water crisis affects the city’s 150,000 residents – many of whom have been unable to shower or flush the toilet – plus an estimated 30,000 others who come to the city to work at unstressed businesses. water, Reeves said. These businesses are suffering huge economic losses, he added.

City communications director Melissa Payne said all of the water system’s customers – 46,000 residential accounts and 6,000 commercial accounts – have been impacted by low water pressure at some point during the crisis.

The latest figures available from the city show that 80 percent of water system customers had little or no water as of Wednesday morning.

The crisis caused Jackson to limp. Many stores and restaurants have closed, while public school systems and Jackson State University have been forced to move classes online.

“There are still some challenges to navigate over the next few days, but the outlook for today is now continuing to evolve,” the city said in its latest report. update on Thursday morning.

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