Support the Turkish Mountaineering Federation (TDF) Earthquake Recovery Appeal

Every quarter, the UIAA promotes a cause from one of its member federations. The latest appeal comes from Türkiye.

As the British Red Cross reported: “On Monday 6 February at 4:17am local time, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck southern Turkey (Türkiye) near the city of Gaziantep, devastating parts of Turkey and Syria. It was followed by a series of powerful aftershocks. On the same day, at 13:24 local time, a second earthquake (M7.5) hit the Elbistan district around 80 miles north of Gaziantep. Rescuers raced to save people trapped beneath the rubble, and get shelter and support to those in Turkey and Syria who had lost their homes or were afraid to return inside. Then, on 20 February, two weeks after the first earthquake, there was another 6.4 magnitude earthquake near Antakya in Turkey (an area already severely affected by the first earthquakes), again followed by significant aftershocks. More lives were lost as further buildings collapsed. So far, it’s been reported that more than 50,000 people have died as a result of the earthquakes, with many thousands more injured.”

The Turkish Mountaineering Federation (TDF), a UIAA full member, played a significant part in the rescue operation, offering climbing equipment, volunteer resources and also financial support.

As detailed in Outside, Dr Ersan Başar (photo above), TDF President, put out an immediate appeal via WhatsApp asking for volunteers to help with the rescue efforts. As Outside reported: “The TDF could organise the necessary travel permissions from regional governors in the affected areas.” Approximately 750 TDF members from across Türkiye supported the rescue efforts. The Outside article tells the story of Polat Dede whose team, experienced in high mountain environments, pulled around 12 people alive from the rubble.

Outside continues: “The search and rescue techniques that Dede and his friends had learned from their years of mountaineering proved invaluable. So did their physical stamina from endurance training.”

The UIAA recently spoke to Dr Başar to gain a more detailed understanding of the rescue operation. He explained: “The TDF reacted as soon as the earthquake happened. We were in the field at the first opportunity. Initially our search and rescue team were in the field for ten days. For our rescue teams, significantly affected by what they witnessed, we provided a lot of psychological support. As well as being on the frontline in terms of rescue we took part in delivering aid to victims and then at a third stage directly supporting young people and organising social programmes to help a carve a pathway back to normality.”

The 2023 UIAA General Assembly will take place in Trabzon, Turkey from 20-21 October as scheduled. During the GA, the TDF will present details of its rescue operations and ongoing support to the victims of the tragedy.

The UIAA has opened its fundraising resource to collect donations which will be given to the TDF during this year’s GA.

“We thank the UIAA and the wider climbing and mountaineering community for their support,” adds Dr Başar. ”The donations contributed by the climbing community and UIAA member federations will be allocated for the procurement of aid materials to be distributed to our mountaineering and climbing clubs that have participated in the search and rescue operations during the earthquake disaster. Priority aid materials to be provided for search and rescue activities include helmets, tents, avalanche probes, snow shovels, stretchers, ropes, generators, harnesses, and first aid kits. The Turkish Mountaineering Federation will be responsible for the supply and distribution of the necessary search and rescue equipment to the clubs.”

All images courtesy of the TDF


Coming Soon

Details of the second appeal supported by the UIAA will be communicated after the 2023 General Assembly.

Through its Commissions, the UIAA spearheads a number of key initiatives including:



Creating and developing safety resources for climbers and mountaineers


Mountain Protection

Protection of the mountain environment


Youth Development

Encouraging youth development


Mediating Access

Mediating in access issues


Mountain Communities

Supporting mountain communities

You can support the UIAA as a whole or specific areas or projects. Furthermore, the UIAA uses this resource to raise awareness about projects organised by its member associations. Please select General UIAA support when donating.

UIAA Supported Charities



The UIAA began supporting ClimbAID in early 2019. ClimbAID is a non-profit organisation founded in September 2016 in Zurich, Switzerland which focuses on humanitarian projects with an emphasis on climbing and other alpine sports activities. In particular, ClimbAID focuses on the holistic development of youth into autonomous, social, self- and environmentally aware actors. ClimbAID brings the joy of climbing to communities impacted by war and poverty.


Climbers Against Cancer

CAC is a not-for-profit charity that raises awareness and funds for cancer research through the worldwide climbing community. The charity was created by the late John Ellison, a British climber who after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, established a charity that has since raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from climbers and mountaineers. In May 2014, Ellison was honoured by the UIAA at a meeting of the UIAA Management Committee in Munich. Ellison was feted for his outstanding efforts to bring together the global family of climbers and mountaineers to raise funds for research to fight and beat cancer. The UIAA has supported CAC ever since.