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World Central Kitchen, the non-profit relief organization founded by D.C. chef José Andrés, has deployed to Jackson, Mississippi, where, after a month-long boil-water notice, residents suffered a week without drinkable water.
Dan Abrams, who oversees relief efforts for World Central Kitchen's operations in eastern North America, said the organization has been providing bottled water to residents since Thursday.
"We will surpass 100,000 gallons after [Monday]," he told WUSA9.
WCK's first water distro site is up & running in Jackson! We're working with Jackson schools to provide water for families to take home while also seeing what we can do to support getting the school buildings open as quick as possible for kids to return. #ChefsForMississippi pic.twitter.com/DWA6xZgnA8
— World Central Kitchen (@WCKitchen) September 1, 2022
The organization is also working with Jackson's school district to set up water tanks at 54 schools that will also serve as backup water systems in future emergencies.
"We're so focused on making sure those kids get back to school as quickly as possible," Abrams told WUSA9.
WCK team is distributing water for students at Blackburn middle school.. we will be supporting more drive up sites in Jackson too! Also @WCKitchen we will be taking water to elderly & those that can't leave their homes to reach as many people as we can. #ChefsForMississippi pic.twitter.com/jRfv80tclv
— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) September 1, 2022
As of Tuesday morning, most of the city's 150,000 residents were without running water, prompting the state's governor, Tate Reeves, to declare a state of emergency.
For more than a week, thousands of Jackson residents had no running water in their sinks, showers, and toilets, largely due to a lack of water pressure. While water pressure was restored by midday Tuesday, the water is still unsafe to drink. State health officials advise citizens to continue to drink bottled water or to boil tap water for at least one full minute before drinking.
While schools in Jackson have restored water pressure, it is still not drinkable—so WCK is working with the district to set up tanks at 54 sites to supply water for drinking & cooking. These tanks will also serve as backup systems in future emergencies. #ChefsForMississippi pic.twitter.com/zkMSqSWLPK
— World Central Kitchen (@WCKitchen) September 5, 2022
"People in Mississippi are the same as people in D.C.," Abrams told WUSA9. "They're the same as people in California and anywhere in between, and everyone deserves to live a dignified life and to have basic needs met."
He said World Central Kitchen will stay in Jackson as long as they are needed.
For more information, to donate, and to volunteer visit wck.org.