photo credit: The Rev Lizzie Campbell

CHURCHES AROUND ENGLAND have been offering their large, stone buildings as a sanctuary for people seeking refuge from unbearable temperatures in London.

The Rev John MacKenzie, vicar of St Luke’s Church, West Holloway, has offered respite for those seeking to escape overheating homes. He said: “Throughout history churches have been places of sanctuary so it’s fitting that our nice, cool buildings are a source of refuge for people trying to avoid the heat.

“Whether its running food banks or offering a night shelter for the homeless, churches are often trying to help the local community so as we have these large, stone buildings it makes sense to open them up for the public to use.

“We’ve been providing iced drinks and free wifi for people that need to escape high rise flats or other places that get too hot during the day.

“These heatwaves just show the danger we face from climate change and is a reminder to the next Prime Minister that they need to make action on climate change a top priority.”

Christian Aid’s Senior Climate Advisor, Mary Friel, said: “Climate change is supercharging heatwaves and extreme weather events around the world including in the UK. It’s particularly bad right now in East Africa, where the worst drought in 40 years is putting millions of people on the brink of famine.

“This growing extreme weather needs to be a wake-up call for our politicians. People are losing their lives and livelihoods. Scientists have already warned this is the critical decade for climate action to keep global temperatures below 1.5C. Unless leaders act faster on climate change then we can expect the situation to only get worse.

“What makes climate change so unjust is that those suffering the most have done the least to cause it. That’s why support needs to urgently reach people on the front line of the climate crisis, and we must redouble efforts at home to transition to net-zero as fast as possible.”

Earlier this summer, Christian Aid published a report, Scorched Earth, which looks at how climate change and drought is affecting 10 global cities, including London.

The report cites Environment Agency CEO James Bevan, who warns that within 25 years London and the South East of England could run out of water. The cost of a severe drought to London’s economy is estimated by Thames Water to be £330 million per day, and would have severe economic, social and environmental consequences.

The situation in East Africa has become so bad that Christian Aid has launched an appeal which will help repair wells, truck water to drought hit areas and provide food and water purification kits.

* Read Scorched Earth here.

* More information on Christian Aid’s East Africa appeal here.

* Source: Christian Aid