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600 Mississippi National Guardsmen to be deployed to help with water distribution in Jackson

Brad Vest/Getty Images, FILE

(JACKSON, Miss.) -- Six hundred Mississippi National Guard members will deploy to Jackson starting Thursday to help with water distribution, officials said Wednesday, as they grapple with an ongoing water crisis plaguing residents.

No timeline was given when the water pumps at Jackson's O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant will be fixed, but 72 hours of bad weather has caused significant service interruptions at the plant, Gov. Tate Reeves said at a press conference Wednesday.

"There is a tremendous amount of work to be done at the O.B. Curtis plant," he said. "There will be future interruptions; they are not avoidable at this point."

Jackson has been using backup pumps since the main pumps were damaged, Reeves said Monday.

Officials said there would be no reliable running water in Jackson, which will impact up to 180,000 people until the pump is fixed.

State officials also warned residents not to drink the water from the pipes if they could avoid it, adding that if they must use the water, then boil it first.

"Don't open your mouth in the shower and don't give your pets the water," Jim Craig, the senior deputy and director of the state's office of health protection, said at Wednesday's news conference.

The city has been under a boil water notice since July 29.

Reeves declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, allowing state officials to better help in Jackson.

The White House approved Reeves' request for federal assistance Tuesday night.

"An emergency exists in the State of Mississippi and ordered Federal assistance to supplement the state's response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from a water crisis," the White House said in a press release.

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