Local authorities in Jackson, the capital of the southern state of Mississippi, distributed 2.8 million bottles of bottled water due to the lack of drinking water in the city, government officials reported on Friday.
The more than 150,000 residents of Jackson lived their fifth day without water this Friday after a water treatment plant broke down after the heavy rains and floods that the city experienced this month.
At a press conference this Friday, the state governor, Tate Reeves, explained that there are currently seven bottled water distribution points in the city and that 2.8 million bottles of water have been distributed in the last 24 hours.
“The delivery points are going to be open seven days a week as long as it takes,” said the Republican politician.
Reeves stressed that authorities continue to work to restore water pressure throughout the municipality to allow residents to carry out basic tasks such as flushing the toilet.
The governor appeared before the press together with the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Deane Criswell, who visited the city on Friday to review local and national efforts in response to the crisis.
“What we want to do is make sure residents have access to adequate drinking water,” Criswell said, assuring that the agency is supporting state first responders in their efforts to deliver bottled water to residents.
The official also assured that FEMA is providing technical support to the authorities of Mississippi, the poorest state in the country, to restore water pressure in the city and repair the damaged water treatment plant.
Mississippi’s governor declared a state of emergency Tuesday night after torrential rains caused the Pearl River to rise and one of the city’s two water treatment plants to fail.
Jackson’s drinking water system has been in crisis for years due to a lack of resources to renovate its infrastructure, and city residents had already been asked weeks ago to boil their water due to quality problems.
The mayor of Jackson, the Democrat Chokwe Antar Lumumba, has denounced the abandonment suffered in recent years and estimates that fixing the entire water system would cost about 200 million dollars, more than double the 75 million that were allocated to the city for this purpose in the infrastructure law that Congress approved last year.