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The water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi exposed long-standing problems in the city



After more than two weeks of no clean running water, Katasha Johnson saw a slow trickle dripping from the tap at her home on the west side of Jackson, Mississippi on Tuesday.

But for the 38-year-old Johnson, the brown dripping does not seem like a probation. Johnson’s successive winter storms last month swept the city and its century-old water infrastructure, and later lost the water source.

Johnson, the mother of 9-year-olds, 6-year-olds and 3-year-olds, said: “It’s not enough to do anything, it doesn’t even seem safe.”

Instead, Johnson and her fiance used melted snow and rainwater collected in four large coolers to flush the toilet. In order to clean the dishes and hands, Johnson will boil the water poured from the bathtub with water.

She said: “It̵

7;s horrible to live like this.”

Jackson entered the third week of the crisis. This crisis left most of the city short of water, because the cold temperature destroyed most of the southern area. Community leaders said that this disaster is not a one-off, it has exposed the problems of long-term system breakdown and neglect.

In the weeks after the storm, the city continued to boil water, and people were urged to save water and reduce water consumption as much as possible. Residents gather in several locations where non-potable water is distributed or water used to flush the entire city. Many people said that after the supply ran out, they had been rejected.

The mayor’s office said in a statement that Jackson had reported 96 major water cracks and leaks, of which 53 had been repaired.

“Today we see the pressure staying around 83 to 85 psi. This is good, but in the end, we need to keep 90 psi and keep it constant in order to restore the water to everyone. This is an old system and we are adopting it every day Charging,” the statement said.

More than half of the schools in the city were closed due to the water crisis. Only 19 of the nearly 50 public schools have reopened.

Although it is not clear how many residents have run out of water, state Rep. Ronnie Crudup and other community leaders say there are at least 40,000.

Crudup had no water for 16 consecutive days. He lives with his wife and two 9- and 10-year-old grandchildren in the city’s worst-hit South Jackson area.

He said: “We can’t take a bath, we can’t cook food, we can’t wash dishes, we can’t wash clothes. This is very difficult.

Crudep said that the city’s infrastructure is already fragile, and the crisis highlights how easily the city can erupt.

He said: “Infrastructure construction has always been a historical issue. Over the years, every competent department has been working hard and moving forward.” “This is a long-term problem, but now we have paid a heavy tribute to it. cost.”

Cassandra Welchlin, executive director of the Mississippi Black Women’s Roundtable and co-founder of the Mississippi Women’s Economic Security Initiative, a local non-profit organization, said the water crisis has highlighted a series of potential problems that have plagued communities for a long time.

She said: “This is a breakdown of the system that was supposed to be built to protect the safety of our citizens.” “This water crisis has indeed exacerbated this system. It has never really worked for the poor, blacks, the elderly and many people. Over.”

Jackson’s population accounts for more than 80% of blacks.

Welchlin said the government has not invested in Jackson’s infrastructure for a long time.

“All of these are interconnected. Due to the water crisis, some families lost a week’s salary because many people were unable to work. Teachers could not teach because they did not have an Internet connection. They had no power. Many people could not provide it, so this is a comparison. Many people may see much bigger problems,” she said.

Welchlin and Krudup said that state and federal interventions are necessary to adequately address infrastructure and all potential problems related to the crisis.

During this period, several groups have stepped up to assist community members. The Mississippi Women’s Economic Security Initiative and other local organizations have coordinated water, water, and services for residents in need. They donated gift cards for food and bills and arranged for water trucks. They also discarded bottled water.

However, many residents have to pay for it themselves. Kehinde Gaynor, 42, had to rent three hotel rooms in the past two weeks in order to give his wife and three children a place where they can bathe and wash their hands with safe water.

He said that many residents had to do this, and the cost quickly increased.

He said: “The absence of water is not unfamiliar to us. We have lost water before, but we have never lost it.” “It is affecting every part of our lives. To me, it feels like we are The next one is Flint, Michigan.”

Bracey Harris Contributed.


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