Near the end of August 2022, heavy storms devastated Jackson, Mississippi. These storms crippled the main water distribution plant for the city. Due to previous weather, it had already been forced to rely on backup water purifiers. The newest storms made those inoperable as well.
Suddenly, the entire city was without clean water. That meant over 150,000 people didn’t have safe water for drinking or bathing. While many evacuated the city during the worst of this crisis, thousands more were trapped.
On the morning of August 30th, a local attorney for Morgan and Morgan, Benjamin Wilson, contacted the disaster relief team (DRT) to let it know about the Jackson water crisis. Team members responded almost immediately, contacting the local sheriff to help with coordination and driving 10 hours to the city of Jackson, Mississippi.
Approximately 24 hours later, the DRT set up its first distribution site at a local church. By the time the site was set up, hundreds of vehicles were lined up, waiting to get fresh water, wipes, and dry shampoo.
The 150 cases of water ran out within an hour, and the DRT resupplied twice during that first day. By the end of the day, Morgan and Morgan's employees had successfully helped at least 400 families.
Doing Even More on Day Two
Most of the DRT team was exhausted on the first day. They had driven 10 hours and spent the entire morning setting up the distribution site. While they did a lot of good on that first day, they were in no state to reach out to those who couldn’t make it to the distribution location.
The second day was very different. After some time for recuperation, the team was firing on all cylinders, ready to do even more—this time in a different neighborhood, set up at a different church.
Once again, a line of cars waited outside the church to collect fresh water. The Morgan and Morgan DRT helped hundreds of families in the morning.
While handing out supplies, they were also contacted by local media doing a story on the crisis. In addition to reporting on the Morgan and Morgan efforts, a local reporter informed team members that the neighborhood they were in was home to many veterans who could not leave their homes.
This information spurred a Morgan and Morgan volunteer to action. We packed the trucks to the brim with pallets of water and delivered them throughout the neighborhood. Following the directions of those team members, they drove from house to house, delivering water to veterans in need.
As the day came to a close, our team still had one pallet of water that hadn’t been donated. One of our volunteers drove it to a nearby nursing home connected with one of the churches that had helped us during our distribution efforts. Like the homebound veterans, residents of this nursing home couldn’t come to us, so we went to them.
The Jackson Water Crisis Continues
While our DRT was only able to spend two days delivering water to residents of Jackson, Mississippi, that doesn’t mean the Jackson water crisis is over. Months later, residents of the city still can’t fully trust their water, and the water treatment plant has not been fully repaired.
Work crews have worked almost non-stop on restoring the pumps and pipes that broke when the Pearl River overflowed during those August storms. Every day, new damage is being discovered, adding to the backlog of required repairs.
The long-term predictions are quite dire. Residents may have to wait almost a decade for the problem to be completely resolved and may periodically be without any water. The city still needs donations from caring individuals and corporations.
At Morgan and Morgan, we will continue to monitor the situation and do our part to help residents survive this crisis. We have long had an office in Jackson, and we feel a commitment to our community and neighbors.
While our DRT has been called on to deal with other disasters since the Jackson water crisis started, they have remained in contact with the local attorneys who first reported it. If needed, our team will once again make the 10-hour drive to bring fresh and safe water to Jackson, Mississippi, residents who need it.
Regardless of how large our law firm grows, we will always be a local law firm at heart, protecting those in our community in any way we can.