José Andrés Is Already Pitching In To Help The Victims Of The Devastating Earthquake In Turkey

First responder is the term used to describe someone, usually a police officer, firefighter, or medical professional, who is on the front lines to take action during a grave emergency, like a natural disaster, a fire, or a terrorist attack. We tend to think of the police officers and firefighters who bravely entered the Twin Towers on 9/11 (September 11, 2001) and risked their lives so they might save others. Some consider first response to be the calling and work of heroes. Though they perform their jobs every day without fanfare, we honor these men and women each year on October 28, National First Responders Day (per National Today).

You could call chef José Andrés a first responder in his own right. The Spanish-born chef and founder of World Central Kitchen is known for being a humanitarian as much as he is known for being a world-class chef and restaurant owner. He has even referred to himself as a "food first responder” (per Forbes). Wherever there is a crisis, be it the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a devastating hurricane in Puerto Rico, or wildfires in California, Andrés and his corps of volunteer cooks pitch tents and set up kitchens to supply meals and comfort. So it's not surprising that Andrés has called up a World Central Kitchen crew to join relief organizations already providing food assistance in areas affected by the earthquakes that recently hit Turkey and Syria (per Food Tank).

Andrés and World Central Kitchen team join relief effort in Adana, Turkey

One of the most powerful earthquakes in more than a century rocked Turkey and Syria on February 6, killing over 11,000 people (and injuring thousands more), leveling homes and buildings, and causing widespread infrastructure damage throughout the region, according to CNN. Search and rescue efforts are ongoing. "People need shelter, food, clean water, and medical care for injuries resulting from the earthquake, but also for other health needs," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said from the scene.

On Twitter, José Andrés shared photos from his flight to Istanbul, Turkey, showing firefighters and search and rescue dogs from Valencia and Zaragoza, Spain. He noted he would join World Central Kitchen crews in Adana, a city in southern Turkey that was particularly hard hit, leaving thousands of residents displaced (per Reuters). "Amazing initial response of the International community. Let's hope the dogs and others find many more people alive,” Andrés said in his tweet, adding a prayer emoji.