Displaying items by tag: state of emergency
On 24 July part of California had to declare another state of emergency and evacuate over 6,000 people as the largest active wildfire in the USA rapidly spread near Yosemite National Park (home to some of the largest and oldest sequoia trees in the world). The Oak Fire started two days earlier but the explosive behaviour of the fire meant firefighters struggled to control it. The state of emergency allows access to federal help. By 27 July the wildfires grew to 18,824 acres with 36% containment, but the northward direction of the wind was taking it into the Sierra National Forest - no longer in the direction of Yosemite. The scale of the blaze marks an ominous start to California's wildfire season. Pray for the families and business owners of 100 destroyed structures and for the safety of the 1,000 structures being threatened.
A movement which started in January as a loosely organised convoy of truckers has now raised millions of dollars and is causing chaos.Trucker convoy demonstrations are spreading across Canada by protesters opposed to vaccine mandates and other pandemic restrictions. After days of chaotic disruption by trucks blocking streets and blowing their horns day and night, Ottawa’s mayor declared a state of emergency because the situation is out of control. Increasing resident frustration has brought confrontations, some physical. Some protesters drive vehicles on pavements and stunt drive and there are allegations of mischief, theft, property damage and hate crimes in many provinces. The protesters said they don’t want physical confrontation with the authorities, but are willing to be arrested for their beliefs. Supporters have donated portable toilets, tents, fully equipped kitchens, tables with toiletries, and portable generators. Truckers slept in their cabs while others used home rentals. On 9 February four provinces reduced coronavirus restrictions to bring the protests to heel. Protesters’ demands now include removing the PM.
A state of emergency has been declared in British Columbia, where torrential rain and mudslides have destroyed roads, cut off several mountain towns, and displaced 18,000 people. At the time of writing there has only been one death, but the death toll will probably rise as the Canadian province grapples with what its premier, John Horgan, called a once-in-500-year event. Pray for neighbours and authorities working to save people and animals, secure supply chains, and ensure that essential goods and emergency services can reach hard-hit communities. Pray for the thousands of people forced to leave their homes in regions under evacuation orders. Ottawa is sending hundreds of air force personnel to aid the recovery, and thousands more are on standby. Pray for the affected towns in remote mountain areas with limited access and freezing temperatures. Many are cut off by road closures and mudslides.
Since hostilities began last November, there have been rapes and massacres of civilians on a large scale. As far back as January, aid agencies were sounding alarms about how much worse the situation could get. Continued fighting, bureaucratic hurdles, and aid blockades have since led to a continuing famine affecting hundreds of thousands of people. More than two million people have been displaced from their homes, and tens of thousands have died. The declaration of a nationwide state of emergency by the federal government on Tuesday has triggered fears of more instability. The war has degenerated into a brutal conflict to crush and erode Tigray, and talk of elimination of entire ethnic groups has been normalised. The USA has sent a special envoy to Ethiopia for talks, and on 16 November there will be a meeting of the East African bloc Intergovernmental Authority on Development to discuss the worsening conflict.
Latvia has declared a state of emergency at its Belarus border, authorising border guards, armed forces and police to use physical force to return migrants to the country from which they came. Latvia, like neighbouring Lithuania, has faced an influx of mostly Iraqi migrants in the past few months from Belarus. Their borders are also the EU's external border. The state of emergency will run until 10 November and will enable the armed forces and the state police to assist the border guards. Lithuania is also erecting a four-metre metal fence topped with razor wire on its Belarus border, saying it is impossible to protect their borders. Tensions have been strained between Belarus and European nations since a disputed election last year returned President Alexander Lukashenko to power despite mass protests against his regime.
General Min Aung Hlaing, who led Myanmar’s coup, declared himself prime minister and said military rule and a state of emergency will continue until 2023; then the country will hold elections. This contradicts his earlier claims that political freedoms would soon be restored. People protested in Mandalay and the police shot them with no warning. Since February, security forces have killed 1,000 people and arrested 5,000. Covid-19 is rampant. Cemeteries are full and the government is not helping by blocking oxygen shipments. On 8 August fresh protests broke out against military rule, to coincide with the anniversary of 1988 pro-democracy protests. Civilians, including healthcare workers, quit working to protest the military’s overthrow of an elected government. Christians have been giving out food and water to the needy - widows who cannot get out for any kind of food. They mention they’re doing this because they’re followers of Christ. Unfortunately, that is interpreted as insurrection.
The director of the Olympics opening ceremony was dismissed for making jokes in the 1990s about the Holocaust. Earlier this week, a composer quit the ceremony team after it emerged he had bullied classmates with disabilities at school. In March the Olympics' creative chief quit after suggesting that plus-size comedian Naomi Watanabe could appear as an ‘Olympig’. In February the head of the organising committee had to step down after he made inappropriate remarks about women. The scandals have increased massive unease about the Games. A recent poll found 55% of Japanese were opposed to holding the Games, fearing it could become a coronavirus super-spreader event. Already, organisers are dealing with rising Covid cases. Dozens involved in the Games, including officials and athletes, have tested positive. An increase in cases among Japan's population - only a third of whom have been vaccinated - has led to a state of emergency being declared for the duration of the Games.
The Czech government re-declared a state of emergency to tackle the coronavirus pandemic in defiance of the lower house of Parliament, which refused the minority government’s request to extend the powerful tool. The state of emergency gives extra powers to impose nationwide restrictions and limit people’s travel and rights. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the republic’s rate of 915 new confirmed cases per 100,000 people in the previous two weeks is the second worst per capita in the EU after Portugal. Despite the dire situation, some lawyers and politicians, including the Senate speaker, say the government’s move violates the country’s constitution. The government denies that, saying its legal advisers support such a solution. Meanwhile Germany has implemented tight border controls on its frontiers with the Czech Republic and Austria’s Tyrol province to stem the spread of variants.
Italy declared a state of emergency on 14 November after floods brought carnage to Venice. The prime minister described the flooding as 'a blow to the heart of our country'. The government took on 'exceptional powers' to respond to the damage, estimated at hundreds of millions of pounds, including millions in St Mark's Basilica alone. The mayor said the city was 'on its knees', and warned of 'widespread devastation' after an unprecedented combination of high spring tides and a storm surge of a 6ft 2in tide on the night of 13 November. The mayor has blamed climate change for the disaster, but there was also anger among Venetians at the corruption which has held up a flood barrier project.