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Water Restored in Jackson, Mississippi, Still Unsafe for Residents 

A Mississippi National Guard Soldier takes water to a person’s car at the Mississippi State Fairgrounds in Jackson, Mississippi, Sept. 1, 2022. Nearly 600 Mississippi National Guardsmen were set up across seven sites through Jackson for people to collect bottled water and non-potable water from buffalo trucks. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Connie Jones).

After flooding caused by the Pearl River, problems began to arise at the O.B. Curtis Water plant in Jackson, Mississippi, leading to residents going a week without water. Although access to water has been restored, it is not clean nor safe to consume.

On Aug. 30, Gov. Tate Reeves declared a State of Emergency and activated the Mississippi National Guard to distribute water bottles to residents across the city at numerous locations. Several homes, churches, and schools like Jackson State University (JSU) where Kayla Beard attends, were without water for about a week.

On Sept. 5, the water pressure was restored in the Mississippi city, and residents received a boil water notice. Beard said she’s accustomed to those. 

 “I feel somewhat relieved now that pressure is restored, but there’s no clean water to drink, cook, or clean,” Beard said. 

Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said two rounds of clear samples from the water are needed before the notice can be lifted. In the past week, though, President Biden approved an emergency request for federal assistance to be delivered to the region, according to a press statement released by White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. This announcement allowed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to get involved. 

FEMA recently posted their work on the ground on Twitter, citing partnerships with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and faith-based and community organizations. Efforts to mitigate the issue have also been launched by numerous organizations around the country, including World Central Kitchen, The Salvation Army, and Walmart. 

On Howard’s campus, the Howard University Royal Court launched a water drive to donate close to 50 cases of water to JSU. Chris Luckett, a junior finance major at Howard who is from Jackson, Mississippi, is urging people to support Jacksonians.

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“There is still a lot of work to be done with fixing the water issue,” Luckett said. “If anyone wants to help please donate to the cause because we desperately need it.” 

Copy edited by Nhandi Long-Shipman

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