A devastating disaster—either natural or manmade—can trigger a nationwide state of emergency. And there have been plenty of them this year.
In the wake of the attacks in Paris last November, which was Europe’s worst terror attack in 10 years, president François Hollande declared a state of emergency. This gave authorities the power to set curfews, limit public gathering, establish so-called secure zones and extend police powers to carry out house searches without judicial oversight and confiscate certain classes of weapons, even if they’re being owned legally.
France was ready to end this state of emergency—but on Bastille Day, when Hollande said he would lift it, France was suddenly hit with a major terrorist attack in Nice when a man drove a lorry into a crowd of people. The state of emergency has now been extended for six more months.
Mali is also under a state of emergency, which was recently extended in the wake of a series of terrorist attacks, including an attack on an army base that killed 17 soldiers. The increasing violence has affected aid groups and the millions of people who depend on that aid.
While it hasn’t experienced a terrorist attack, Venezuela has also had a pretty awful year so far. The country has been gripped by economic and political meltdown, but it wasn’t until US intelligence officials warned the government could be overthrown by a popular uprising that a nationwide state of emergency was declared.
Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro announced the state of emergency on national television, warning that “Washington is activating measures at the request of Venezuela’s fascist right, who are emboldened by the coup in Brazil.” (He is referring to Dilma Rousseff’s woes.)
The latest state of emergency comes from Turkey, who has just survived an attempted coup by a faction in its army. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s response to the coup has been swift and merciless; over 7,500 people have been arrested, while 9,000 police officers, 2,745 judges, and 49,000 government workers have been fired.
That’s at least 203 million people living in a national state of emergency at the minute.
And this list doesn’t include states of emergency to deal with local disasters—like the parts of Florida that are in a state of emergency over a toxic algae bloom that can be seen from space or in Crimea (paywall), the site of a long-running dispute between Ukraine and Russia.