Following on the heels of a flash flood event that affected the area Aug. 24–25 and a threat of flooding from the Pearl River earlier this week, the City of Jackson now finds itself facing a major pressure loss within the entire municipal water system.
In a statement issued Monday, the governor’s office joined the Mississippi State Department of Health in declaring a state of emergency in Jackson because of the failed water system. With the declaration, state resources are being brought in to assist with ensuring that the 155,000-plus residents of Jackson have access to potable and non-potable water.
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency is serving as the coordinating response agency for state and local governments and non-governmental organizations that are responding to the crisis. MEMA is focused on a two-fold plan to provide for residents during the outage.
The first phase is to ensure access to both drinking and sanitary water through supplementing existing Jackson efforts at bottled water distribution and supplying tankers to assist with non-potable supplies at fire stations and other locations across the city.
The second phase is to identify needs, repairs and manpower that will enable the restarting of the city’s water treatment facilities. There is presently no timetable for when this crisis is expected to be resolved.
A teleconference drew Metro Association leadership, Mississippi Baptist Convention Board staff, state Baptist DR leadership and pastors from Metro Association on Tuesday (Aug. 30). The group developed a plan to support ministry to the most vulnerable residents of the city.
Leveraging existing relationships with community ministries, the participating Metro Association congregations will focus their attention on the elderly, those who are homebound, church members and others who live in the city who may not be able to access the distribution sites across the city.
Bottled water will be made available for delivery by church and community ministry volunteers to help supplement the efforts of local and state governments.
Mississippi Baptist Disaster Relief is supporting Metro Association and their associated congregations who are responding to water outages in Jackson.
The current need is for bulk, palletized bottled water, and MBDR is seeking to obtain only bulk, palletized bottled water for use in the distribution system. They ask that people do not conduct “water collection drives” as collection, transportation, storage and distribution at this point are a time-, cost-, and manpower-intensive operation.
How to pray, help
Mississippi Baptist leaders ask that people pray for:
— city and state leaders for wisdom and knowledge to quickly resolve the issues,
— those who are being affected that they will realize and know the fullness of the hope of Jesus in troubling times,
— the congregations and volunteers who are responding to meet the needs of others.