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FEMA administrator says there’s no timeline for when Jackson, Miss., will have access to water

Associated Press/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell said on Sunday there is no timeline for when residents of the city of Jackson, Miss., will have access to drinkable water. 

“I think it’s still too early to tell,” Criswell told host Dana Bash on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I think that having EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] and the Army Corps of Engineers — we had a really good conversation on Friday about what it’s going to take in the assessments that they’re doing.” 

“And so it’s going to happen in phases,” she added. “The focus right now is making sure we can get bottled water out.”

Criswell visited Jackson on Friday along with the Biden administration’s infrastructure director, Mitch Landrieu, and the city’s mayor, Chokwe Antar Lumumba (D). 

“We’re providing temporary measures to help increase the water pressure so people can at least flush their toilets and use the faucets,” Criswell told Bash on Sunday.

“The longer term and the midterm about how long it’s going to take to actually make it safe to drink — [I] think we have a lot more to learn about what it’s going to take to get that plant up and running,” she added.  

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) declared a state of emergency last week over the city’s water crisis. 

Lumumba told ABC News that water issues in Jackson, which is a majority-Black city, have been prevalent for decades, citing a lack of capital improvements, required maintenance and human capital to repair the aging system. 

Tags Chokwe Antar Lumumba CNN Dana Bash Dana Bash Deanne Criswell Deanne Criswell Federal Emergency Management Agency FEMA Jackson Mississippi Mitch Landrieu State of the Union Tate Reeves Tate Reeves

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