Displaying items by tag: disruption
Just Stop Oil protesters demand climate change action. Their protests cover fossil fuels, renewable energy investment, and better building insulation to avoid energy waste. To make their point, they have thrown soup at National Gallery paintings, tried to disrupt Britain’s Formula 1 Grand Prix, and closed the M25 using ‘nonviolent civil resistance’. Dealing with these protests is extremely difficult for the authorities, despite arrests and court action. Just Stop Oil said it will demonstrate every day until their demand for no new oil or gas in the UK is met. A bill is currently going through Parliament to grant powers to prosecute someone interfering with the operation or use of key national public services on roads, railways, or air transport infrastructures. Since October the police have dedicated 10,000 officers to policing them, officers who would otherwise be dealing with local offences such as knife crime, safeguarding, or burglaries.
The forecast for northern England and Scotland on 7 and 8 January is for thundersnow with freezing rain, followed by snow and lightning, disrupting travel and causing power cuts. On 9 or 10 January, wintry showers will likely be just over the higher tops and fells. Forecasters said thundersnow is driven by the same conditions which cause thunder in the summer - the difference in temperature between the ground and the air surrounding it. Pray for those whose balance could be impaired when walking on icy ground. Pray for drivers to be careful when rain is followed by frost and black ice appears. Pray for any power cuts to be shortlived, and for the vulnerable to keep warm in unnaturally freezing conditions. Also, strong winds will bring the risk of drifting and blizzards. Pray especially for the farmers with livestock out on the hills.
Covid jab appointments at mass vaccination centres are being block-booked by people who have no intention of getting inoculated. Wembley Stadium, which is being used to roll out thousands of shots before Christmas, is one of the sites where they have been employing this tactic. On 19 December staff said that patients had not arrived for their bookings and the centre was ‘really quiet’. The site had hoped to inoculate 10,000 people, but only 2,500 had been administered by mid-afternoon. Anti-vaxxers have employed similar tactics at other sites around the country. However, a spokesman said, ‘Any suspected disruption has been offset by the number of walk-ins, including thousands of local residents, many of whom have made a big step in coming forwards to start their vaccination journey, as well as very high numbers of boosters.’
Although Storm Arwen has abated, the widespread disruption has left tens of thousands of people in the north of England still without electricity. Damage to power equipment has been described as unprecedented. As repairs are being made, more faults are being discovered and it is expected that properties in Cumbria may not have electricity until 8 December. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-59396135 On 30 November the Met Office reported, ‘There is an 80% probability of severe cold weather/icy conditions/heavy snow between 9am on Wednesday 1 December and midnight on Saturday 4 December in parts of England’. Prolonged periods of cold weather can be dangerous for older people, those with underlying health conditions, and young children. We can pray for a speedy return to full capacity electricity across all areas, and for friends, family, and neighbours to be aware of others who may be vulnerable and need support. See also
Swathes of Britain are set to be battered by gales as Storm Arwen brings winds of up to 75mph. The Met Office has issued weather warnings covering most of the UK for 27 November, with coastal areas hit hardest. Forecasters say high winds may cause some travel disruption and damage in the worst-affected areas. An amber alert issued for northeast Scotland and northeast England says ‘flying debris is likely and could lead to injuries or danger to life’. Longer journey times in those areas are likely, with rail, air and ferry services potentially disrupted. Parts of the UK are also set for a sprinkling of snow this weekend as an Arctic blast bites, sending temperatures tumbling towards freezing. The wintry mix of gales, rain and snow is predicted anywhere except the far south.
Abdo Saade is one of the most powerful men in Lebanon. He owns 4,000 electricity generators across Lebanon, which keep the lights on in the absence of a reliable power supply. He turned Lebanon's tattered electricity grid and inept state utility into a lucrative business, nicknamed 'Generator Mafia'. Millions of Lebanese pay enormous sums from their meagre salaries each month on two separate bills: one to the state electricity company, the other to their local 'generator man'. Without Mr Saade’s syndicate the country's economy would grind to a halt. A fuel shortage has further disrupted daily life, and two main power plants closed for 24 hours on 9 October. This week businesses have shut, hospitals anticipate mass deaths from power cuts to ventilators, water supplies to four million are threatened, and there have been fistfights and shootings at petrol stations.
Activists have begun two weeks of London protests 'targeting the root cause of the climate crisis'. On 24 August protesters lined London streets with placards, waved banners and erected obstacles to disrupt and block roads around Westminster. They blocked off roads, glued themselves to a giant table, and formed a human chain around the area cordoned off by police. Dozens were carried to police vans by officers who used loudspeakers to warn the crowd to leave or risk arrest. At least 10,000 people congregated near the rallies; by 26 August 196 people had been arrested. The group's co-founder gave a speech expressing solidarity with nations disproportionately affected by climate change. Pray for all the police forces to respond appropriately and proportionately to protest activity in the next fortnight, and for a workable policing plan.
Please pray for young people like Frances who have had their lives put on hold. Having worked hard at university and achieved her dream job, she was making plans for the future until lockdown made her unemployed. Now there is a question mark over everything. 18-year-old Eleanor had her education disrupted across two academic years, in both school and university. Last year, her A-levels were caught up in exam chaos. As a university student this year she has been taught entirely online, unable to make personal contact with other students or tutors. She faces uncertainty around her job prospects, whether her A-level grades are ‘proper’, and if her social life will recover after so much time at home. Evidence shows primary pupils' levels of English and maths are ‘significantly lower’ than three years ago. The scale of the disruption will need a ten-year programme to get back on track. Many students now have mental health issues, particularly depression.
Doctors and lawyers marched in Paris on 3 February, demonstrating against President Macron's pension reforms. It is the latest in a wave of protests against Macron's signature reform, streamlining France's complex and expensive pension system that allows some French workers to retire as young as 50. It has led to more than sixty days of strikes and protests by many different people, including transport workers, women's groups, and those in the tourism and energy sectors. These protests have seen tourist attractions like the Eiffel Tower closed, and electricity and gas cut off by workers at energy plants. Macron hopes he can force his reform through parliament this month. Prime minister Edouard Philippe will negotiate with unions from 10 February to make the new retirement system financially sustainable.
Taal volcano began spewing lava rocks and ash on 13 January, forcing 53,000+ residents to flee. However thousands refused to leave their animals and possessions. Clouds of ash carrying microscopic shards of glass 62 miles cause serious illness if lodged in people’s lungs. Taal is dangerous because 459,000+ people live within an 8-mile danger zone, and a 10.5- mile evacuation zone affects 930,000. Strong, continuous earthquakes rumble, new vents have opened, fresh ash covers towns and the lake’s water temperature has risen. An estimated 25 million people are at risk if the volcano erupts again. Please pray for the thousands in 118+ evacuation centres or with friends and family. Pray for medical teams giving psychological and medical care and for those providing water-tankers, rescue vehicles, and ambulances.