Citizens and charities have galvanized relief effort in Puerto Rico as federal assistance has been disorganized, delayed and scarce a month after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.
A well-known Spanish chef and his charity celebrated serving one million meals to those left hungry by the storm. José 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.
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.
“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,” the chef posted on his official Twitter account this week.
That is far more than what the Red Cross has achieved in the island. The international committee has served around 54,000 meals and delivered more than 500,000 relief supplies.
Volunteers assemble tens of thousands of sandwiches each day at the Coliseo in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in a massive effort organized by Chef José Andrés. (Photo by NPR)
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. However, he 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.
The mayor of the Puerto Rican capital San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz, hit back at Trump on Friday, saying his administration would get a “failing grade.”
US President Donald Trump shakes hands with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz (L) during briefing on Hurricane Maria relief efforts at a hanger at Luis Muñiz Air National Guard Base in Carolina, Puerto Rico, on October 3, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
“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.”