Though it remains out of the spotlight of the national media, the community of Jackson, Mississippi is recovering from a severe water emergency.
According to reports, the issue began on February 10, when workers were sent to repair a damaged underground water main to the south of the city. The extent of the damage they encountered was unexpected, with the necessary repairs causing a widespread outage of water services throughout the city. Due to the adverse health dangers associated with major underground work on water systems of this kind, the Mayor’s office advised all residents to boil water while repairs were carried out – an advisory that was only lifted on March 13. In the meantime, an acute water shortage afflicted about 40,000 residents across the city, according to estimates from the Mississippi Emergency Management Association (MEMA).
The boil water advisory for Jackson came at a time of heightened concerns for city infrastructure, which in some cases is in such a state of disrepair that routine construction and digging projects can cause considerable damage.
Given the seriousness of the situation, Zakat Foundation of America (ZF)’s partners stepped in to provide water relief to low-income, homeless and disabled community members – those who are typically the most severely afflicted in emergency situations of this kind. Working with several local mosques, relief workers purchased and distributed 8,700 lbs. of water to the poor and vulnerable people of Jackson. According to ZF’s partners on the ground, their actions were noticed by city officials, residents and local media outlets, leaving a lasting humanitarian footprint in the area through the cooperation of ZF and its partners in the local Muslim community.
Going forward, as has always been the case since its inception, ZF will continue to act as a first responder in crisis situations and a provider of essential services for needy communities in the United States. Working together with fellow nonprofit organizations, citizen groups and government agencies, ZF aims to show how faith communities can step up to revitalize the ideals of social justice and altruism that make up the moral foundations of our common life.