(AHT) — José Andrés, the well-known Spanish chef, and his charity celebrated serving one million meals to those left hungry by the storm. Andrés, who is known for his upscale restaurants in Washington, DC, has been in Puerto Rico since September 25, preparing as many as 60,000 meals a day for the victims.
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The extraordinary relief effort, operated by Andrés’ non-profit food charity organization World Central Kitchen, took three weeks and the help of 15 kitchens and more than 500 volunteers.
In a post uploaded from the chef’s official Twitter account this week, Andres says,”Hello people of America, people of the world. Today, big news. Twenty-one days in this beautiful island of Puerto Rico and I can tell you World Central Kitchen chefs of Puerto Rico initiative, we are about to reach today one million meals cooked by the men and women of Puerto Rico. Big day. I love you.”
That is far more than what the Red Cross has achieved in the island. According to the American Red Cross vice president of communications Elizabeth Penniman, they have delivered 150,000 MREs (meals ready to eat), 302,000 meal boxes, and 1.4 million pounds of canned goods, rice, beans, crackers, fruit, vegetables and non-perishables.
Nearly 80 percent of Puerto Rico, a US territory of 3.4 million people, still remains without electricity and hundreds of thousands of Americans are without running water.
US President Donald Trump has been under heavy criticism for his handling of the crisis. Critics say, the reputation of the U.S. is already in tatters, with Trump governing by ‘Tweet’, continually lying, and spending more time and energy criticizing football players who don’t, in his view, sufficiently respect the U.S. flag, than he does helping desperate hurricane victims in Puerto Rico.
Despite criticism, Trump awarded himself “a 10” out of 10 when asked to rate federal emergency relief effort in the Island. “I give ourselves a 10,” the president said at a press conference with the governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló.
Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of the Puerto Rican capital San Juan, hit back at Trump on Friday, saying his administration would get a “failing grade.”
“If it’s a 10 out of a scale of 100, of course,” she said. “I think the president lives in an alternative reality world that only he believes the things that he is saying.”
Trump had previously slammed Cruz’s “poor leadership” for demanding federal help to deal with the hurricane. “They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort.”
Puerto Rico is in the midst of an undeniable financial crisis, with a debt of $70 billion that it is currently trying to pay back.
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