Biden declares emergency in Mississippi due to lack of access to drinking water

The president of the United States, Joe Biden, declared an emergency in Mississippi and ordered the sending of federal aid to 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 entails that the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) coordinate all federal aid with the objective of identifying, mobilizing and providing material and resources necessary to alleviate the impact of the emergency.

The governor of Mississippi, Republican Tate Reeves, declared a state of emergency last night due to the lack of drinking water and State National Guard reservists are now doing everything they can to distribute bottled water in Jackson.

Jackson’s drinking water system has been in crisis for years due to lack of resources to renew its infrastructurebut the situation worsened this month with the torrential rains that fell in the city and other towns in the center of the State.

These rains caused the level of the Pearl River to rise and failures in one of Jackson’s two water treatment plants, 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 Monday night at a press conference.

However, fixing Jackson’s entire water system would cost about $200 millionexplained last week the city’s mayor, Democrat Chokwe Antar Lumumba.

Those $200 million are more than double the $75 million that was allocated to the city to repair its water system in the infrastructure law that Congress approved last year.

Due to the lack of drinking water, Jackson residents cannot use tap water for drinking, cooking, or brushing their teeth.

Authorities have not offered information on when Jackson residents will have access to drinking water again.