Ivan Francisco Escobar from the nonprofit World Central Kitchen is preparing 25,000 meals daily in Antakya along with a team of six Turkish volunteers.
Less than a week after two earthquakes devastated southern Türkiye, Ivan Francisco Escobar made a nearly three-hour road journey from Adana through one of the worst-hit regions.
The 43-year-old chef had travelled non-stop from his home in the bustling Colombian city of Barranquilla – on February 10, he flew from his home in Colombia to Istanbul and then took a connecting flight to Adana before the road trip to his destination, Antakya in the Hatay province.
Since then, Escobar has been preparing 25,000 meals daily for the earthquake survivors in Antakya, one of the worst-hit areas in the 7.7 and 7.6 earthquakes that killed more than 50,000 people in Türkiye and Syria and left millions homeless.
Escobar is a member of the World Central Kitchen, a US-based non-profit which provides food in natural disasters, made-made crises and humanitarian emergencies. It was one of the first humanitarian aid teams to arrive in Türkiye following the worst natural disaster in recent history.
Escobar says the survivors need every possible help to overcome this tragedy.
“There is just one thing that you can do, and that is, fill yourself with strength and bravery for these people. They need it all,” he tells TRT World over the phone during a break from his routine.
“And there’s no time to complain, to whine. There is no time to be weak, only time to be strong and do what you need to do to feed as many people as possible. I’ve reached my limit of 25,000 meals a day and I’m very proud of that,” he adds.
Escobar has a team of six Turkish chefs and volunteers helping him.