After a series of deadly earthquakes devastated southern Türkiye and Syria in February, more than 50,000 people have been killed, 500,000 buildings collapsed, and over 1.5 million people have been left homeless. Among those living in the affected areas are approximately two million Syrian refugees, already previously displaced by the ongoing civil war in Syria.
In Hatay, a region of Türkiye heavily affected by the earthquakes, the entire city center of Antakya is gone. No residential buildings remain standing and all but two districts of Hatay have been leveled. Reyhanli is a small town in Hatay, historically impoverished and transient, 3 miles from the busiest land border with Syria. In the weeks since the quakes, over 50,000 Syrians have evacuated from Antakya to Reyhanli, and that number is increasing every day with people coming from other regions of Hatay, Mersin, and Syria. With this large influx of people, additional support in Reyhanli is needed immediately.
That’s why Building Markets is excited to announce a partnership with World Central Kitchen (WCK) & Türkiye’s International Restaurant Association (IRA). Together with WCK and the IRA, Building Markets is able to facilitate necessary food relief via a mobile kitchen powered by restaurants in our business network. Starting March 3, the Reyhanli Mobile Kitchen is open to the community, serving 10,000 meals a day to those affected by the earthquakes, many of whom are Syrian refugees.
This partnership will enable a team of 14 extraordinary chefs to expand the number of healthy, hot, and delicious meals served to their neighbors. Each day they will prepare a different meal from a rotating menu. Foods like grilled chicken skewers, rice, and boiled chickpeas will offer a familiar taste of home during a difficult time. To ensure no one has to wait in long lines in the cold, a team of 20 distributors will deliver hot meals directly to locations where survivors are sheltering.
About our partners:
World renowned for their quick action in crisis, World Central Kitchen is bringing their expertise in disaster management and logistics to food relief across Türkiye.
The International Restaurant Association is a Turkish NGO established in 2019 that supports member restaurants with administrative, legal, and technical advisory services, encourages integration and coexistence between diverse cultures in Turkish society, protects Syrian food heritage, and lifts up a new generation of professional chefs.
Building Markets has been helping local businesses in Türkiye, largely Syrian refugee-led, create jobs, win contracts, and improve their communities for the past six years. Now, together with World Central Kitchen and Türkiye’s International Restaurant Association, we’re harnessing the power of local business in our network to provide essential food relief and ultimately, longer-term recovery.
You can learn more about our work at www.buildingmarkets.org.