On Tuesday, a mine exploded in western Turkey, in the town of Soma, racking up a death toll of well over 200. Outbursts from mourning loved ones occasionally broke the silence on Wednesday morning. Still, one by one, officials carry the injured out of the mine…
And yet, hundreds more may still be trapped inside. Over the course of the night, families congregated outside of the hospital, waiting for news.
Suayip Ozcan, a local miner, says, “We had been working in a mine over-ground nearby. We saw everything from there. We saw the ambulances and people waiting.”
“I have two relatives in the mine. We have been waiting since this afternoon, and we are still here; no one is giving us any information,” an unidentified miner’s relative added.
It’s sad to say: As the hospitals overflow with the deceased, freezer trucks serve as morgues for the bodies… Without a doubt, this is Turkey’s worst mining disaster in history. Teams of psychiatrists are on the scene to help counsel the traumatized families. Pope Francis sent his prayers for the victims, but the Turkish parliament is singing a different tune – one of anger and unrest.
Ozgur Ozel, The Opposition Republican People’s Party Deputy for Manisa Region, says, “In Soma, there are continuous explosions in mines and in those explosions, we lose our workers. Our parliamentary questions were: ‘We inspected 10 times. We’ve found 66 flaws. They were fined.’ Result? New explosion, new losses.”
A fire underground was still burning on Wednesday, slowing down the rescue process. Fortunately, rescuers pumped oxygen into the mine so that those by the blaze would be kept alive.
This tragedy has drawn attention to Turkey’s poor record of worker safety, causing officials to investigate safety standards at previously state-run mines.
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