The severe weather crisis in Texas was so bad that power went out and water and sanitation quickly followed. While Texas has power and water and can begin the long, tedious process of repairing their homes, Mississippi is still suffering.
Like Texas, Mississippi suffered under the same cold snap, and while they didn’t lose power, they did lose water. While most states would be fighting to help their people, Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, focused instead on ignoring all COVID-19 protections.
Reeves is an anti-big government Republican, but he’s pondering taking over Jackson, Mississippi’s water system, reported WATP last week. “To get the water system fixed would cost more than a billion dollars, which would take local, state and federal funds,” said the report. That’s more than six times the annual budget of the city.
Currently, the National Guard is on the ground handing out bottled water to Jackson residents who don’t have access to clean water.
MSNBC’s Joy Reid said that people are comparing the disaster in Mississippi to Flint, Michigan, where the state poisoned the citizens, The Guardian characterized in a 2018 report.
“Officials are unable to give an exact timeline on when water will be restored everywhere. A quarter of the people in Jackson, Mississippi, a city that is 82 percent Black, live in poverty,” said Reid.
The Daily Beast reported that “the crisis has hit south and west Jackson hardest while leaving northeast Jackson, the one predominantly white corner of this 80 percent Black capital city, relatively unscathed.”
Reid noted that they sell shirts saying “Welcome to Boil Water Alert Mississippi,” except it isn’t a joke.
Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba told Reid that the situation is “critical” for the residents there.
“As you can imagine, you have residents who don’t have the necessities that they need not only for drinking and cooking and bathing, but we are in the midst of a pandemic, which, you know, necessitates the need for water even more,” the mayor said. “What took place was that the pressure in our distribution system was interrupted by the storm. It froze pipes, it froze water coming from the intersection. We don’t have a water treatment facility that is weatherized and years of a lack of investment not only locally, but more importantly, state and federal funds that could support these types of infrastructure needs have not — it has not been a joint effort and it has not been viewed as a necessity for both entities.”
He explained that they’d increased the pressure and the system is moving forward but the only solution “is time.” So, water is on the way, but for now, the city is still suffering.
Reid noted that it’s an age-old problem with one part of the city is taken care of with infrastructure while the Black residents are ignored.
“The southern states seem to be particularly a thing, where there is lack of investment in communities of color, lack of investment in infrastructure,” she said. “It’s about privatization and profit.”
Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund Co-Founder Laurie Bertram Roberts told Reid that there must be a major infrastructure investment at the state and federal level to solve the problems. Hers isn’t a unique call, many communities all over the country, not just in The South, have aging infrastructure problems for water and sewage.
See the interview below:
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