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  • AKUT Arama Kurtarma Dernegi / AKUT Search and Rescue Association AKUT
    Buyukdere Caddesi No 120 Esentepe Sisli
    34394 Istanbul
    Turkey

    Email: akut@akut.or.tr
    Phone: +90 212 217 04 10
    Fax: +90 212 217 04 22
    Website: http://www.akut.org.tr/

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AKUT Arama Kurtarma Dernegi / AKUT Search and Rescue Association (AKUT)

Non-Governmental Organization

http://www.akut.org.tr/

AKUT is Turkey’s oldest and largest volunteer search and rescue group. Founded in 1996 by a small number of mountain climbers who rely on their own resources, AKUT since has become an internationally recognized, self-sustaining organization representing more than a thousand volunteers. It has global...

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Mission

AKUT is Turkey’s oldest and largest volunteer search and rescue group. Founded in 1996 by a small number of mountain climbers who rely on their own resources, AKUT since has become an internationally recognized, self-sustaining organization representing more than a thousand volunteers. It has global operating capability with its UN-Insarag certified teams, trained and equipped to meet world standards. As one of the most prestigious organizations of the country, AKUT is also a very prolific actor of disaster awareness and community training in Turkey. Aside from performing its volunteer, non-profit missions, AKUT works as a solution provider in risk and disaster domain as well; developing business continuity, emergency and disaster solutions for Turkey’s largest corporations.

AKUT’s Mission Statement, adopted in 2000:

AKUT is a non-governmental, apolitical organization that works entirely on a voluntary basis to inform and educate the public and also to help all victims of mountain and other outdoor accidents and of natural disasters requesting or needing assistance; through its trained, disciplined, equipped, high-standard crew.

AKUT’s values are: Voluntariness, honesty, reliability, altruism and valuing human life

Policies and Programmes in DRR

AKUT’s Community Training Activities

From the individual perspective, the lack of information is one of the primary causes of disaster mortality and damage. Despite a significant number of major catastrophes that occurred in its history, community training on emergencies and disasters has been virtually inexistent in Turkey until 1999. The Marmara earthquakes, which happened the same year, had a positive consequence in the sense that it stimulated Turkish society’s interest in the risk and disaster information. Increasing anxiety gave birth to the need for sound disaster knowledge, mitigation advice and survival tips, especially among the urban dwellers of metropolitan cities of Turkey who are exposed to many major hazards, natural and industrial. AKUT has initiated its informal community training group in 2000, and developed it into a volunteer but disciplined and qualified “seminar team” (2005) reaching every year an astonishing number of citizens. The seminar unit of AKUT continuously and progressively contributes to disaster awareness raising in Turkey, by building bridges between scientific knowledge, AKUT’s experience and the population.

Membership in Key Networks

UN INSARAG

Education, information and public awareness (HFA 3)

AKUT’s Community Training Activities

From the individual perspective, the lack of information is one of the primary causes of disaster mortality and damage. Despite a significant number of major catastrophes that occurred in its history, community training on emergencies and disasters has been virtually inexistent in Turkey until 1999. The Marmara earthquakes, which happened the same year, had a positive consequence in the sense that it stimulated Turkish society’s interest in the risk and disaster information. Increasing anxiety gave birth to the need for sound disaster knowledge, mitigation advice and survival tips, especially among the urban dwellers of metropolitan cities of Turkey who are exposed to many major hazards, natural and industrial. AKUT has initiated its informal community training group in 2000, and developed it into a volunteer but disciplined and qualified “seminar team” (2005) reaching every year an astonishing number of citizens. The seminar unit of AKUT continuously and progressively contributes to disaster awareness raising in Turkey, by building bridges between scientific knowledge, AKUT’s experience and the population.

Preparedness for effective response (HFA 5)

In accordance with the disaster work related trends and developments, AKUT took the necessary steps in order to be integrated in international disaster response system. In fact, we may assert that AKUT has been one of the active participants of the recently created and developed International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG), which is a global network of more than 80 countries and organizations under the United Nations umbrella. It “deals with urban search and rescue (USAR) related issues, aiming to establish minimum international standards for USAR teams and methodology for international coordination in earthquake response based on the INSARAG Guidelines endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly”.

Other activities

AKUT’s Social / Community Projects

Below are the description of some selected social projects of AKUT, realized either by the association’s volunteers or by the Foundation.

AKUT Youth Volunteering Project - ongoing since 2002
Aim: Raising children’s awareness of the benefits of social responsibility through AKUT’s values. Elaborated by a team of pedagogues, this program allows children of 9 - 12 years old to internalize values of AKUT, to learn about environmental issues and to acquire basic disaster-related knowledge.

Patient Transport On Winter Conditions - ongoing since 2002
This project’s primary aim was to provide efficient emergency transport in remote areas. Eastern and southeastern Anatolia’s winter conditions may result in the closing of rural roads in these regions. When the winter is particularly harsh, remote villages may remain inaccessible for months for ordinary vehicles. Even if the villagers are adapted to this situation and mostly self-sufficient, they need transport in various urgent situations, including complex medical emergencies. An AKUT team located in Bingöl realizes patient transports (childbirth, cardiology emergencies, kidney failures..) with snowmobiles from the remote areas to the nearest fully equipped medical center every winter since 2003. As AKUT leaded the way, different public and private organizations put other snowmobile teams in service since.

AKUT Anatolian Truck Project - 2004
The “truck project”, as known by the AKUT volunteers, was developed to raise the society’s awareness of the disasters and to present the works of AKUT. This project consists of a long hauler truck transformed into a mobile education center equipped with an earthquake simulator, accompanied by a medical ambulance. Between 8 April and 17 August 2004, this little convoy rolled for 15500 kilometers, visiting all 81 Turkish provinces and reaching more than 1 million citizens who visited the mobile natural disasters exhibition and got the distributed info materials. Also, those who needed had a chance to be examined for pulmonary diseases by the medical team.

AKUT Hand To Hand With Anatolia - ongoing since 2005
Aim: To improve physical conditions in disadvantaged educational institutions. This project basically established a link between various manufacturers and the students in need. AKUT has undertaken the evaluation of the needs, the collection and redistribution of all kind of materials such as clothing, food, electronics, appliances, furniture, tools, stationery, school supplies, books etc. to 5000 students in all Turkey. The project is still ongoing and large quantities of supplies are sent to provincial Turkey in the beginning of every scholar year.

International Symposium On Disasters - 2006
The symposium’s main goal was to gather disaster experts from different scientific disciplines and stimulate scientific activity. As a part of its 10th anniversary activities, AKUT organized an international symposium on disasters in cooperation with Bosphorus University (23-24 March 2006). The meeting assembled a total of 30 speakers from various scientific disciplines.

AKUT Student Communities Project - ongoing since 2006
Goal: To promote voluntarism and AKUT’s values among university students. AKUT has established student communities in 15 Turkish universities since 2006. Members of AKUT student communities are trained in first aid and basic search and rescue but also participate to other social actions and projects by AKUT.

“Communication Means Life” Project - ongoing since 2008
This action was aiming to raise the society’s awareness of the disasters and to present the works of AKUT. This project is similar to the Anatolian Truck Project. With the cooperation and support of Vodafone Turkey, AKUT convoy has visited all 81 provinces of Turkey and reached 2.100.000 people in total. 582.000 of these have watched the earthquake awareness film shown in the AKUT trailer, while 220.000, mostly children, have watched the live “earthquake drama” by professional actors. 980.000 information booklets were distributed to visitors in total.

“Keep Living, Turkey!” Project - 2010 to 2011
Aim: To raise the society’s awareness of the disasters and to present the works of AKUT. Thanks to Aksigorta, a Turkish Insurance Company, AKUT took its previous mobile training programs one step further and added a 3-axis acceleration earthquake simulator (the first in Turkey) to the “convoy” that visited 20 provinces, 100 sub-provinces in total in 2 years.

AKUT Urban Volunteers - 2012
The program aimed to raise the society’s awareness of the “social responsibility” and help citizens in realizing their full potential. AKUT Urban Volunteers Community aims to gather individuals who desire to be a part of social projects designed around “urban values” The projects are elaborated and
realized in cooperation with corporate actors as well as educational institutions and other NGOs, which are considered as “shareholders”.

“Unity Makes AKUT” - 2013 to 2014
This action was designed and implemented by AKUT Foundation with the support of Consulate General of Sweden in Istanbul. Based on thematic theater plays, the program has reached more than 2500 students to raise their disaster awareness. A special booklet and a website have also been produced as support materials.

“The Stone Bridge” Project - 2013 to 2014
With the support of Consulate General of The Kingdom of the Netherlands in Istanbul, AKUT Foundation has implemented a program for the young inmates in the Maltepe Juvenile Correction Facility to assist them in breaking the “cycle of crime”. A combination of 16 trainings about disaster preparedness, values and social skills has been given to 50 juveniles in the facility. A Change.org campaign is carried out in parallel with training activities, together with the preparation of a proposal to amend existing legislation, in cooperation with HUDER, a Turkish NGO that is specialized in academic research on law.

Future Generations Get Ready for Disasters With AKUT Project - 2013 to 2014
This project by AKUT Foundation has been funded by Istanbul Development Agency. The project’s target population was the primary and secondary school students of Istanbul. In order to raise awareness about disaster readiness and help building a generation who incorporates safe living culture, 12.000 students were given earthquake preparedness seminar in 15 primary schools and 15 high schools in coordination with Turkish Ministry of Education. A box game, a cartoon (for 9-12 year old children) were developed as support materials. The action has been validated trough a series of workshops and a conference.

I Know My Rights, Growing Up Knowing It - 2014 to 2015
This social action has been awarded with a grant from European Union and Republic of Turkey, Central Finance and Contracts Unit. AKUT Foundation’s program targeted a sample of urban children and childcare volunteers of Istanbul. The main goal was to develop an education program for raising a generation that knows its rights, respect other people’s rights and also aware of safe living vis-à-vis disasters. Two interactive training programs, one for the children, one for the caregivers who will become trainers- have been developed and implemented.

EDUCEN Horizon 2020 Project 2015 to 2017
European Disasters in Urban Centers: A Culture Expert Network is a coordination and support to action project that is financed by European Union Research Executive Agency, in accordance with the Horizon 2020 program. EDUCEN will work on the complex interplay between culture(s) and disaster risk reduction, above all in the context of cities, to allow in particular formal and informal emergency responders, risk managers, the military, urban planners and planners at regional and national level to be better equipped to deal with elements of culture, and as a result to ensure highly competent disaster responses and increasing community resilience. As a partner of EDUCED Consortium, AKUT will realize a case study on the disabled and the disaster in Istanbul, in order to reduce the disabled community’s vulnerability.

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  • Buyukdere Caddesi No 120 Esentepe Sisli 34394 Istanbul Turkey

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