How to Help Soma Mining Incident and Southeast Europe Flood Victims

For sometime now, I’ve been aware that I could use the traffic on this blog to promote other causes besides informing my readers of contemporary issues. For example If I wanted to, I could try to raise money for a new guitar to start my musical career. However, instead of pursuing a personal goal, I’ve decided to raise awareness on how to help the victims of disasters from around the world. I initially did this in November for the typhoon that had struck the Philippines. Following the recent mining disaster in Turkey and the deadly floods in southeastern Europe, I was initially stricken with sadness and grief over the loss of so many lives. However, I soon became emboldened when I realized that in addition to contributing to aid efforts myself, I that could perhaps convince and help some of my readers to contribute as well. Rest assured that for each of the incidents I discuss, I will be very careful to provide accurate details regarding the events that have occurred and to make sure that the organizations that I list are legitimate.

Soma, Turkey

On 13 May, 2014, an explosion at a coal mine in the Turkish city of Soma caused an underground fire within the mine. In the ensuing days, even though 486 miners survived a total of 301 miners unfortunately lost their lives, making it the largest mining disaster in the history of Turkey. The Turkish Ministry of Energy stated that most miners died due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

A Turkish miner weeps for his deceased colleagues.
A Turkish miner weeps for his deceased colleagues.
Women mourn at the graves of the miners.
Women mourn at the graves of the miners.
The body of a victim is carried away from the mine.
The body of a victim is carried away from the mine.

In the Soma mining disaster, it wasn’t homes or buildings that were destroyed; it was families that were most severely stricken. A crumbled house in an earthquake can be rebuilt or restored. A lost father however, will never be brought back. Authorities have reported that 432 children have lost their fathers in the disaster. With this thought in mind, and in addition to the fact that the miners were low income blue collar workers, I have deemed it most useful to contribute to the Turkish Education Foundation’s TEV Soma Hope Fund. This fund is a scholarship that will give financial aid to the children of miners who were killed or injured in the mining disaster. The true tragedy of this incident is that so many miners perished for such a risky job for which they earn too little. Hopefully by contributing to this scholarship, we can make the life of the families of the victims just a little better by making it easier for them to provide education to their children, who have now been left without fathers and brothers.

To contribute to the Turkish Education Foundation’s TEV Soma Hope Fund,
1) Click on the following link:
2) Choose “Kayıtlı bir fon seçmek istiyorum”
3) Under the list of funds choose TEV Soma Umut Fonu and enter the amount you want to donate in the field below.
4) Enter your personal and credit card information.

Southeastern Europe

On May 15th, multiple floods centered in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina struck large parts of southeastern Europe. By May 20th, 49 people were reported to be dead and by May 23rd, over 70 people are still missing. The monetary damages are also vast and have surpassed 1 billion euros. In total, over 1.5 million have been adversely effected by the floods. Coupled with the frequent landslides, these are the worst floods the region has witnessed in over 150 years. The situation is especially dire in Bosnia. Whereas Serbia and Croatia are members of the European Union and have access to the EU’s 500 million Euro Solidarity Fund, the Bosnian government did not even have a centralized disaster management system until the disaster struck.

A local sports facility has been turned into a shelter.
A local sports facility has been turned into a shelter.
A Serbian man stands atop his home.
A Serbian man stands atop his home.
Bosnian citizens must now travel the streets of their hometown with rowboats.
Bosnian citizens must now travel the streets of their hometown on boat.

Right now, there is said to be a great shortage of wood, drinking water, clothes, hygenic products and medicine. Many hospitals, schools and houses will have to be rebuilt. Between 1992 and 1995 the region had been the site of a ethnically driven war. The emotional and physical scars of the war can still be felt in these countries. Some fear that lingering ethnic tensions might cause people to tamper with where aid is delivered to. I on the other hand, am optimistic that the disaster can bring fractured communities and ethnicities together. In the meanwhile, we can do our part to help the people of southeaster Europe by donating to the following organizations.

In Serbia

Donate to the state institution solely for this purpose
Donate to the “General support” fund of the TRAG Foundation, the most respected community foundation in Serbia.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina

Donate to Red Cross of Republika Srpska
Donate Red Cross of the Federation of B&H
Donate to the MOZAIK Foundation, the most respected community foundation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In Croatia

Donate to Red Cross
Donate to Croatian Caritas

As I stated before when raising awareness for the typhoon in the Philippines, you might not know any of the victims in Turkey or in southeastern Europe. You might not even have any friends that come from those nations. But no matter where we’re from, we all share the same emotions. We are all capable of love, grief, joy and sadness; no matter what our background, nationality or religion is. Thus, even if it will make just the slightest difference, we should make an effort to help one another no matter where we come from. A small donation may not have a significant impact on our lives, but it in a time of despair it could prove invaluable in helping a Turkish orphan to someday go to college or in aiding Serbian family to rebuild their home.

“Our human compassion binds us the one to the other – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.”
– Nelson Mandela


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