More than two weeks after arriving in Puerto Rico, chef José Andrés continues to show up government officials by actually feeding the people left without food and water after Hurricane Maria. And yesterday, his nonprofit World Central Kitchen traveled to more remote areas of the island, some of which, according to Andrés’s Twitter posts, haven’t received help since the Hurricane made landfall September 20.
With the aid of helicopter transport provided by Goya Foods, Andrés arrived to a mountaintop town outside of Utuado to deliver its “first hot meal in 3 weeks.” According to a video post, his goal is to establish a kitchen there over the next two days. He hopes to have a total of 12 kitchens set up on the island by mid next week.
Yesterday, #ChefsForPuertoRico also delivered 1,000 meals to areas in the southwest of Puerto Rico where aid had yet to arrive, and, Andrés posted on Twitter, World Central Kitchen became the first NGO to bring hot food to Culebra, a small island off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico.
World Central Kitchen fed 80,000 people yesterday, but Andrés remains frustrated at the lack of support from FEMA. Supply difficulties yesterday meant that volunteers could only make 8,000 sandwiches, compared with 20,000 just a few days before.
In a second video post, Andrés said that he requested helicopters from the army to reach inaccessible mountain areas, but they declined. Luckily, Goya stepped in, because, as Andrés’s Tweet below shows, ground transport, even outside of San Juan, can be hazardous.
As much as Andrés and World Central Kitchen have helped feed people affected by Hurricane Maria, without sufficient support from the government, the situation in Puerto Rico has not greatly improved. President Trump has threatened to pull government recovery efforts after just three weeks, Vox reports, but more than 80 percent of the island is still without power. Some Puerto Ricans have resorted to drinking water from superfund sites, compelling the Environmental Protection Agency to issue a warning against doing so just this week.
Andrés said Monday that World Central Kitchen would need to end operations soon, but in his often-live updates from on the ground, the sole superhero from Washington, DC shows no signs of slowing down.
• @chefjoseandres [Twitter]