Washington – The President of the United States, Joe Biden, declared an emergency in Mississippi on Tuesday and ordered the sending of federal aid for the more than 150,000 residents of Jackson, the state capital, who are without access to drinking water after a water treatment pump failed after several days of heavy rain.
In a statement, the White House reported that Biden’s order implies that the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) coordinate all federal aid with the aim of identifying, mobilizing and providing material and resources necessary to alleviate the impact of the emergency.
Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, Republican, declared a state of emergency last night over the lack of drinking water, and the state’s National Guard reservists are now doing their best to distribute bottled water in Jackson.
Jackson’s drinking water system has been in crisis for years due to a lack of resources to renovate its infrastructure, but the situation worsened this month with torrential rains that fell in the city and other towns in the center of the state.
Those rains caused the level of the Pearl River to rise and failures in one of the two water treatment plants in Jackson, which distributes much of the drinking water to the city.
The governor of Mississippi, the poorest state in the country, is trying to hire a company that can fix the water treatment plant, he said at a press conference Monday night.
However, fixing Jackson’s entire water system would cost about $200 million, the city’s mayor, a Democrat, Chokwe Antar Lumumba, said last week.
That $200 million is more than double the $75 million that was allocated to the city to repair its water system in the infrastructure law that Congress passed last year.
Due to the lack of clean water, residents of Jackson cannot use tap water for drinking, cooking or brushing their teeth.
Authorities have not provided information on when Jackson’s residents will have access to drinking water again.
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