An aid team from Oud-Woensel has arrived in the Turkish disaster area. The group of twelve men left Kruisstraat earlier this week with a convoy of six vans full of relief supplies.
The young aid team from Oud-Woensel was founded by Ridvan Tatli, the owner of a kebab restaurant on the Kruisstraat. He has family living in the area devastated by the earthquake: his relatives all come from Gaziantep, the heavily affected city of millions. When Ridvan saw the images of the earthquake on TV Monday morning, the first thing he did was call his cousin to check if he was safe. ” No signal! I felt fear that something would happen to them. It was hard, really hard, what I went through.” Then he called a friend. “I said: it is really bad what is happening in Turkey. We have to do something. We started collecting clothes, collecting diapers. We shared it on social media, and then people came to bring things.”
A Tiktok video by one of the boys from the group shows a landscape of debris, twisted lampposts and a car wreck. Another clip shows the boys checking out trolleys full of relief supplies at a Turkish supermarket – including a close-up of the receipts. They have also rented a house for a year to support some earthquake victims. They have also shared the documentation proof on social media.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen ourselves. But we did it without thinking.”
Ridvan Tatli, initiator relief team
The fundraising campaign has received a massive response. In no time, Ridvan has collected so many relief supplies at a few locations in Woensel and also in a warehouse in Wijchen enough to fill goods from six delivery vans. “There was so much response that we became emotional ourselves. Hundreds of people came to bring things. And the great thing was: it wasn’t just the Turkish. Dutch, Moroccans, Chinese… everyone helps.”
The catering entrepreneur ( 25) has been in daily contact with his cousin in Gaziantep ever since. He is in an extremely difficult situation. “People sleep in bus stops and train stations in the cold (minus three), snow and rain. With children comes the hardest part.” That’s why Ridvan decides to drive himself with the things his cousin thinks are most needed. What kind of journey awaits them, we ask Ridvan just before he leaves. “I don’t know. We don’t know what’s going to happen. But… we do it without thinking about what’s in store for us.