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José Andrés and World Central Kitchen Are Feeding Thousands in Guatemala

The chef arrived last week to aid evacuees and emergency responders following the Fuego volcano eruption

José Andrés and World Central Kitchen team members look at a map of Guatemala
José Andrés and World Central Kitchen team members strategize.
World Central Kitchen/Facebook

Chef, humanitarian, and icon José Andrés is back on the ground with World Central Kitchen. Andrés and his nonprofit were a driving force behind Puerto Rico’s recovery following Hurricane Maria, and now they’re taking their singular approach to disaster relief to Guatemala, where a volcanic eruption killed more than 100 people and left thousands without homes.

Andrés arrived in Guatemala last week, just days after the Fuego volcano’s first June 3 eruption. Since then, World Central Kitchen has delivered thousands of meals to the communities around the Fuego volcano, which continues to spew dangerous lava and ash.

World Central Kitchen is still doing work in Puerto Rico, and since Hurricane Maria, its chef volunteers mobilized during the California wildfires and following the Kilauea volcano eruption in Hawaiʻi. But this is the first time since Puerto Rico that Andrés is on the ground and providing regular updates.

The strategy in Guatemala is much the same as in Puerto Rico. World Central Kitchen began by activating food trucks and establishing kitchens from which volunteers prepare hot meals and sandwiches to deliver to emergency workers and those displaced by the eruption. By the end of last week, World Central Kitchen had three kitchens up and running in Guatemala: one at a hotel in Antigua, one at a restaurant in Escuintla, and one at a cooking school, according to Andrés’s Twitter posts.

Last week, the team delivered sandwiches to a morgue in Escuintla, activated four food trucks in four different locations, and brought hot lunches to shelters. On June 8, a day after he arrived, Andrés reported that World Central Kitchen served 3,600 meals to six different shelters, emergency response teams, the army, and to the isolated communities of Ceilán, located just over three miles south of the volcano.

In a video update posted to Twitter, Andrés says there’s no shortage of food or volunteers in Guatemala, but that World Central Kitchen will help with organizing the efforts to feed displaced people as shelters continue to pop up. In a separate update on June 9, Andrés noted that World Central Kitchen is partnering with NGOs to take over the food only at the official shelters in the areas. At the unofficial emergency shelters, those not established by government organizations, Guatemalan women have taken on the task of feeding evacuees.

But World Central Kitchen is providing some aid to the unofficial shelters. The group is delivering kitchens and gas to the shelters doing their own food. (Promoting clean cookstoves precedes disaster relief as one of World Central Kitchen’s main initiatives.)

Since Andrés arrived in Guatemala, World Central Kitchen steadily served at least 1,000 meals per day. Andrés says he hopes to reach 10,000 meals by the beginning of this week, and in his most recent video update, the chef and activist lays out plans for two or three more kitchens.

According to World Central Kitchen, there are already 18 food distribution points in all. World Central Kitchen will be in Guatemala for the next four weeks, further solidifying its role as a leader in disaster relief.

@chefjoseandres [Twitter]
World Central Kitchen [Official]

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