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1 million without clean drinking water in Louisiana

1 million without clean drinking water in Louisiana

Thousands are without power and roughly 1 million Louisiana residents are without clean drinking water after crippling winter storms struck the southern and central U.S. this week.

Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said Thursday at a press conference that water issues were affecting residents across the state, while the power outages remained mostly confined to the Baton Rouge and North Shore areas.

"There are currently 98 water outages across the state impacting more than 245,000 people, and there are multiple boil water advisories that affect almost a million people across the state," he said.

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Bel Edwards added that National Guardsmen were assisting with bulk and bottled water deliveries to residents in the state, with about 28,000 bottles distributed so far.

Water systems in Lake Charles, a city in southwest Louisiana, remain damaged from Hurricane Laura's landfall in the state last year, according to the governor. He added that it would be "some period of time" after the cold weather abated before the systems requiring repair in the city could be accessed by technicians.

Louisiana and neighboring Texas are two of the hardest-hit states that are recovering after brutal winter weather blanketed the region with ice and snow over the past week. At least 40 deaths have been blamed on the extreme weather as of Thursday, according to The Associated Press, including several reported deaths in Louisiana.

The White House approved a federal emergency disaster declaration for Texas resulting from the winter storms earlier this week, while the governors of Oklahoma and Louisiana have requested the same.