Mississippi has gone 2 weeks without safe drinking water since storm
'The system got so far down, and we got behind, and now we're trying to play catch up.'
Thousands of residents in Jackson, Mississippi are still without running water since the winter storm paralyzed the city in February.
The storm caused long-term damage in several states in the South, including Louisiana and Texas, where millions were left without power and water for days. Mississippi continues to suffer from a storm-related water crisis, which caused 80 water breaks throughout Jackson, CNN reports. More than half have been repaired, public Works Director Dr. Charles Williams said Monday.
“The system got so far down, and we got behind, and now we’re trying to play catch up,” he said.
“Over the course of this crisis, 80 total water main breaks/ leaks have been reported throughout the City,” according to a press release from the city. As of Sunday, 51 repairs had been completed by the Water Maintenance Department.
The city is providing “flushing water” and bottled water to residents who have been without water for over two weeks, said Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba during the Monday news conference. New Orleans’ NBA team The Pelicans are also donating bottled water to those in need. Jackson residents have been on a boil-water advisory since late February, according to the report.
“Our system just, you know, basically crashed like a computer, and now we’re trying to rebuild it,” said Dr. Williams.
“We’re trying to get a definitive timeline as to when water will be restored to all of our citizens,” he added. “We know some have been restored and we are pleased with that, but we’re still heavily concerned about our residents who are in south Jackson.”
Mayor Lumumba said they are working to restore the city’s water systems, but it’s going to take time.
“What it takes in order to see the solution we are asking for – time is what it takes,” Lumumba said. “Our system was never designed to be shut off like that. When the production of water to our system is depleted to this level, what it takes is time.”
The city of Jackson is 82% Black, according to the US Census.
“I know residents are trying to understand this process and be patient — they just want to see water,” Lumumba said. “I think it’s important to start with the understanding that what we have faced and what we have seen as a result of the winter storm, water treatment facilities are not meant to shut down at the level that we experienced.”
theGRIO previously reported, the storms left more than 330,000 from Virginia to Louisiana without power. The snow and ice moved into the Appalachians, northern Maryland and southern Pennsylvania, and later the Northeast as the extreme weather was blamed for the deaths of at least 58 people, including a Tennessee farmer trying to save two calves that apparently wandered into a frozen pond and 17-year-old Oklahoma girl who fell into a frozen pond.
Several people perished trying to keep warm. In and around the western Texas city of Abilene, authorities said six people died of the cold — including a 60-year-old man found dead in his bed in his frigid home. In the Houston area, a family died from carbon monoxide as their car idled in their garage.
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