Friday, July 22, 2011

Change of Plans...

So I had something planned out for today's Faith Friday, all ready to go. Then, a few hours ago something happened in Norway's capital city of Oslo...

All images courtesy of BBC News

As many of you might have heard by now, government/Parliment offices were targeted by explosions a few hours ago. Reports are still mixed, and fires are still being put out and buildings evacuated and controlled.
The city center has been mostly cleared by now, major highways into the city are closed, and the Oslo airport is deciding whether to continue flights in/out of the country while flooding the area with military/police personnel.
Our prime minister seems to be an obvious target in relation to where his offices are and where the most damage occurred. Praise God that all offices in the area were already closed down for the day, there were no press conferences and Parliment was not in session at the time of the explosion, otherwise the casualty rate could have been staggering.
Anywhere between 8-15 people have been hospitalized and there are a couple of potential deaths as news keeps rolling in we'll get a better idea of exactly what's happening.

My family and I are on the other end of the country from Oslo, about 5.5-6 hours by car (45 min. by air), so no one we know/are related to is affected.

But this is not something we as a country are prepared for, and nothing like this has ever happened here in the past. There is a general sense of total shock and fear throughout the country, and what happens in the next few days will be crucial. And though it looks like a textbook terrorist attack, no known groups have stepped forward to claim responsibility, which is usually what goes down.
Though we're not located in close proximity to the capital, we are literally 10-15 minutes away from the government's oil refinery, which is Europe's #1 source of oil. My Husband is an active part of our nation's national guard program, and has been trained specifically to protect the land that the huge oil base is located on in the even of national emergency. Oil industry offices in Oslo were targeted and damaged, so we're praying that his unit won't be required, and he won't be called up to patrol/protect the area from potential danger.

Today, on my weekly Faith Friday installment, I would just like to ask my readers to keep the people of Oslo, and Norway in their prayers. Both for those injured or killed by the blasts and their families, and for justice for those responsible for the incident.

God bless and keep us all. Amen.

edit 9:15pm : Oslo city central is mostly evacuated, with the press still present and providing coverage. Seven have been confirmed dead from blast-related injuries. A man dressed in police uniform opened fire on a Labor-party youth conference on a small island about 25 miles from the downtown area directly following the blasts. The island is still on lockdown, parents and family of the hundreds of 14-19 year olds that were gathered for the weekend conference know little to nothing thus far. The shooter has been arrested, and the children/youth are being secured and guided out of their hiding spots in the forests. Some of the children tried to escape by swimming to the mainland. Casualty reports from the island are still unconfirmed.

edit 1:13am : The current death toll from the island shooting incident is 10. The total between both incidents is 17, and expected to rise, as the island is still being searched for the remaining youth that attempted to flea after shots broke out. We're all praying that 17 is as high as the death count will get, though the chief of police of Oslo believes it will rise.
As many have already said, today will go down in Norwegian history as a horrendous tragedy.
Today is Norway's 9/11. 
We've received amazing support from world leaders, and our Prime Minister gave a wonderful press statement and is currently visiting victims in the Oslo hospitals and thanking the medical staff that has been swamped all evening.
The Hubs and I are turning in for the night, and tearing ourselves away from the news after hours and hours of the same, devastating footage. Our family and friends are all alright, and as of now, there is no indication that Hubs will be called up with his unit.

Please continue to keep Norway in your prayers, everyone.