August 31, 2022 2:16 PM EDT

The failure of Jackson, Mississippi’s main water treatment plant has left nearly 180,000 residents in the city and surrounding areas with little to no clean water. Gov. Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, saying that the city lacked sufficient water to tackle basic needs like flushing toilets, fighting fires and more.

The issue isn’t new; The city has been tackling a water crisis for decades, though the town most recently came under inspection in 2016, when officials first found elevated lead levels in a random sampling of homes. In 2021, residents were under a boil water alert for 225 days, and this year residents have been under the same notice since late July.

But the matter has escalated. “This is a very different situation from a boil water notice–which is also a serious situation,” Gov. Reeves said in a statement Tuesday. “Until it is fixed, it means we do not have reliable running water at scale.”

President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency in Mississippi on Tuesday evening, sending federal assistance to the state.

Here’s how to help Jackson, Miss. residents amid the health crisis:

Where to donate money?

The Mississippi Rapid Response Coalition, made up of over 30 organizations in the state, is taking donations online with a goal of raising at least $2 million. Donations will be used to purchase: water, reusable water containers, filters, and transport these items to those in need.

Other local organizations, like Operation Good, are taking donations through Cashapp under the tag ($Operationgoodms). The Immigrant Alliance for Justice & Equity of Mississippi is also accepting monetary contributions via Venmo (@IAJEofMS), Cashapp ($IAJEofMS) and Paypal (@IAJEofMS), which will be used to supply water.

The Mississippi Food Network is accepting donations online, as is the mutual aid group Cooperation Jackson, and New Horizon Ministries—which already regularly distributes food and water to the community.

Local students in the area have also created the MS Student Water Crisis Advocacy Team, which aims to deliver water to people who are not physically able to get it themselves due to age or disability. They are accepting donations under the ($JxnWaterCrisis22) on Cashapp.

The Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund, which provides financial assistance and support to those seeking abortions, is also accepting contributions here for water distribution.

Where to donate water and supplies?

If you are in the area and would prefer to donate water and supplies, most coalitions are asking that you get in contact with them to share the best location and time for drop-off.

  • The Mississippi Rapid Response Coalition: Email rapidresponse@peoplesadvocacyinstitute.com to arrange pick-up/drop off.
  • Operation Good: Call (601) 874-4521 to arrange pick-up/drop off. If you are out of the immediate area, you can ship goods to 2827 Oak Forest Dr., Jackson, MS, 39204, but organizers ask that you contact them ahead of time.
  • New Horizon International Church: Call (601) 371-1427 to coordinate donations
  • Cooperation Jackson: Email cooperationjackson@gmail.com or call (601) 355-7224

What else can you do to help?

The city of Jackson, Miss. is requesting volunteers to help distribute bottled water daily. To volunteer, email rapidresponse@peoplesadvocacyinstitute.com.

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