UNITED STATES: It’s been a week already, but life is still not normal for Jackson residents.“I think it’s too early to tell,” said Deanne Criswell, whose agency was tasked by President Joe Biden’s administration with coordinating disaster relief efforts for Mississippi, when asked when the plant could be fully operational again.
“It’s going to happen in phases,” she said after visiting Jackson on Friday. “Our focus now is to be able to get the bottled water out, but we are also providing temporary measures to help increase the water pressure so that people can at least flush their toilets and use the taps.“
It is too early to say when a water treatment plant in the Mississippi state capital Jackson that failed last week and left tens of thousands of people without clean tap water may be repaired, the head of the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said on Sunday.
Criswell told CNN State of the Union that FEMA is currently focused on securing supplies of bottled drinking water while working with federal partners to determine what needs to be done to return the plant to full operating capacity.
“In the longer term and medium term of how long it will take to be safe to drink, I think we need to learn a lot more about what it will take to get the plant up and running.”
Complications from recent flooding knocked Jackson’s O.B. Curtis Water Plant offline Monday night, leaving much of the state capital without safe running water and highlighting the problem of America’s crumbling infrastructure that the Biden administration has vowed to address.
Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency for Jackson and surrounding communities last week, warning 180,000 people in the area to avoid drinking tap water.
Mississippi activated its National Guard on Tuesday to help distribute water, and the Biden administration last week approved a state of emergency and ordered federal aid to supplement the state’s response.
The crisis has crippled Jackson, forcing many stores and restaurants to close, while the public school system and Jackson State University have had to move classes online.
Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba told ABC News that the city’s water infrastructure was broken due to wear and tear and climate change.
He said the city can have water approved as safe to drink within days, not weeks, but providing a “reliable and sustainable” water treatment facility is “a much longer road ahead.”