Thousands of residents in the predominately Black city of Jackson, Mississippi have gone without running water for nearly two weeks after an icy winter storm swept through the deep South, knocking out power and water in some areas. Jackson is currently under a boil water alert, which means most residents are struggling to find ways to bathe, cook and use the bathroom.
Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumb said it’s unclear when power and running water will be restored for all residents. “This is one of the unfortunate facts that I have to deliver,” he told The Associated Press. “But I owe you honesty and I owe you truth so we can manage how we prepare.”
The mayor’s office has provided water stations across the city, giving residents access to clean drinking water. Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves also announced last week that he would send in the National Guard in order to fix the water issue in Jackson, but conditions still haven’t improved.
Many people took to twitter in an effort to raise awareness about what’s happening in Jackson. “For over 10 days now, around half the residents of Jackson, Mississippi have not had running water,” New York Times bestselling author Angie Thomas posted over the weekend. “And nobody is talking about it on a national scale. I am begging the national media to please pay attention. There is a crisis happening in Jackson.”
Laurie Bertram Roberts, an organizer with Yellow Fund, stated the organization, “…has been giving out water, diapers, period supplies and other items for several days. No One is paying attention to what is happening in Jackson.”
The U.S. is a nation that grapples with infrastructure issues, and Jackson is proof of that. The city, which has outdated water equipment, was not physically prepared for the winter storm that swept through nearly two weeks ago. Although Public Works Director Dr. Charles Williams and Mayor Lumumba announced Sunday that the city is making progress in restoring the water system, Williams admitted that, due to the storm, “Our system basically crashed like a computer and we’re trying to rebuild it.”