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The major mine disaster in Soma

Presentation of 90,000 euro donation for desperate families in the mountain villages

Help from RSD and its tour guides

The images transmitted from the site of the disastrous mining accident were terrible: on 13 May in the western Turkish town of Soma, 301 miners died and left behind devastated families. The next-of-kin were promised support. But this help did not always reach the families quickly, especially those who live in the inaccessible mountain villages around Soma.

RSD and the tour guides working for RSD in Turkey reacted quickly and decisively: in a joint effort they collected a total of 90,000 euros. This has meant that 21 families in the remote villages of Elmadere and Köseler have been able to receive a donation of almost 4300 euros each. The annual wage of a miner is around 3000 euros, so this unexpected support was very gratefully received.

The driving force behind this support scheme were the RSD tour guides, who in Turkey work under the management of our Turkish partner NBK Touristic. In the past years these dedicated women and men have often raised money to support charitable causes: surprising primary school pupils in Antalya with gifts of books, or funding excavations and restoration work at ancient sites such as Myra or Perge.

And so when the RSD tour guides heard about the devastating accident in Soma they didn’t need to think twice: the 50,000 euros they had already collected – actually intended for a new school building – were now more urgently required by the families in the mountains around Soma. RSD donated an extra 40,000 euros, thus bringing the total up to no less than 90,000 euros.

As NBK director Recep Yavuz says: “RSD is the only tour operator that is supporting the families in this way. We draw strength from the way that RSD backs us up. And it makes us very proud that we are together helping my country in this difficult hour. The local people and politicians won’t forget this.”

The 90,000 euro donation is being distributed with care and a strong sense of responsibility. Staff of NBK Touristic had recently visited the mountain villages, talked to many of the bereaved and found out who is the most needy. NBK director Yavuz says: “They told us that they don’t need any flour, rice or sugar, but that the financial support is now the most important thing for them. This at the time that their fathers and providers have died so tragically.”

A team from NBK Touristic is now once again visiting the villages of Elmadere and Köseler, ringing the doorbells, handing over the donations, and also sitting down with the families for a cup of tea together. A gesture of humanity at a particularly hard time.