Areas of Manchester battle water crisis amidst Coronavirus threat
Walker walks blocks to catch water.
Deneil Walker walks a few blocks from home in Knockpatrick, Manchester to catch water in buckets and bottles, on April 16, 2020. (PHOTO: Contributed)
|Quade Thompson, Journalist student
On April 16, 2020, residents of the Knockpatrick and Sunset Crescent Communities in Manchester expressed frustration for extended water shortage considering the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Resident of Sunset Crescent, Marlene Freeman declared that “the shortage of water supply in my community has had and continues to have drastic effects on my day to day life. The lack of water has affected me in that sometimes I don’t have water to carry out basic activities such as: cooking, drinking, washing and bathing.”
Freeman added that “due to this, I am forced to find transportation to go in another community in
search of water or to buy bottled water. This can be costly and as a University student, this can become very challenging as I am not always financially capable of funding this alternative measure that I often have to take.” She also shared that “with the rise of Covid-19 cases, I’m extremely disgruntled since I’m not able to keep myself hydrated which is necessary. I’m also unable to thoroughly clean my surroundings and along with not being able to wash my hands on a regular basis to decrease the chances of contracting or spreading the virus.”
Science Teacher at Belair High School in Mandeville, Deneil Walker shared that “For weeks now, we have barely been receiving water through pipes. Some nights, we might be lucky to get a bucket, two bottles, then a cup if I was lucky, then the tap stopped altogether. Then, no water, which means that sometimes I have to walk a few blocks in order to fill containers during the day. It is very disheartening.”
Walker mentioned that “I know my experience has not been by far the most pitiful of cases, but
many across this town would willingly join in beating empty buckets and drums out of angst
concerning this water situation.” He added that “in light of the recent Covid-19 scare, we are told to wash hands frequently, and practice other hygiene measures and we have to wash dishes, clothes and flush toilets and we barely have any running water. All this talk is idealistic but unless there is a tangible plan to properly service our community with water, then Covid-19 will just be another guest to the party
to start with dysentery, gastroenteritis and influenza around here.”
National Water Commission (NWC) Representative, Jabreena Bryan shared that the water shortage affecting these communities are an unfortunate case. “I am sorry that this is the reality for some. The Regional Manager is already working on projects to restore waters to communities without. We know especially with this virus that’s spreading, water is needed even more.” These communities have reported that water scarcities have been in for two weeks now.