About 150,000 people are affected. In Jackson, capital of Mississippi (United States), the inhabitants, mostly African-Americans, were still deprived of clean running water on Thursday 1 September.
This city in the southern United States, where the poverty rate is high, has been experiencing a serious water crisis for years. Since the beginning of the week, she has been in an emergency situation. Floods have disrupted the operation of an essential water treatment plant for the city, but already aging. By opening the tap, the inhabitants sometimes only see a few drops flowing out, or brown water. They are forced to queue to collect bottles of water.
What remains of running water should not be drunk, authorities have warned. “In the shower, make sure your mouth isn’t open because, again, you shouldn’t swallow that water”thus warned Jim Craig, of the health authorities of Mississippi.
City authorities noted an improvement on Thursday, with some neighborhoods beginning to regain pressure. The water treatment plant “made significant progress overnight and this morning”, said the town hall. A pump, urgently rented, was installed there on Wednesday. “Problems remain to be resolved in the coming days, but the outlook is for progress today”welcomed the town hall.
Daily life, however, remains disrupted. Schools have had to switch to distance learning, and businesses are paying a heavy price.
The situation suffered by the residents of Jackson is reminiscent of one of the worst health scandals in American history, that of the contaminated water in Flint, Michigan. In this industrial city, a change in the drinking water supply source, decided as a cost-saving measure, had permanently poisoned the network, exposing the inhabitants to lead poisoning.