José Andrés and World Central Kitchen (WCK) have been quick to take decisive action again, this time in Mozambique. Their work, along with that of other humanitarian aid organizations, could benefit from more individual and corporate support.
Last month, Cyclone Idai wreaked devastation across Malawi, Zimbabwe and, with particular ferocity, Mozambique. Over 1,000 people died due to rapid flooding, while over 1 million were displaced in the aftermath of a storm surge that rose as high as 13 feet (4 meters). Over 2 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, hundreds of thousands of people are still displaced, and more than 1 million acres of cropland was lost. At its peak, the flooding in Mozambique covered a land mass greater than the total area of Boston, Chicago, New York City and Washington, D.C. combined.
And, according to various press reports, the situation in many communities has become even more dire in recent weeks.
Just as they have done following natural disasters in places including the U.S., Puerto Rico and Venezuela, in the month since Andrés and WCK arrived in Mozambique, they continued to offer their unique way of assistance with a generous side of human dignity. At last count, WCK has served over 250,000 hot meals to survivors. Additional support from organizations such as the Rockefeller Foundation has allowed WCK to feed people at camps hosting displaced families, as well as schools and clinics.
The situation in Mozambique is still critical. Sanitation and health safety have been compromised in many regions, so they have become important components of WCK’s relief operations. Dangers include the spread of cholera through contaminated water, and the aftermath of the cyclone has caused additional public health risks with the influx of people living closely together while forced to cope with limited sanitation and hygiene systems. Due to one outbreak of cholera, WCK workers have had to take extra precautions while preparing and serving food.
Nevertheless, WCK has been able to deliver on its core mission: serving hot and nutritious meals to those recovering from illness and injury in clinics and hospitals.
The relentless, can-do attitude of Andrés and the staff at WCK, and how they channel this passion to humanitarian relief, are among many reasons why José Andrés was named Humanitarian of the Year at last year’s 3BL Forum—and why there’s talk of him being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
More information on WCK and how to contribute to its efforts can be found here.
Image credits: World Central Kitchen
Leon Kaye has written for TriplePundit since 2010, and became its Executive Editor in 2018. He is also the Director of Social Media and Engagement for 3BL Media. His previous work can be found at The Guardian, Sustainable Brands and CleanTechnica. Kaye is based in Fresno, CA, from where he happily explores California’s stellar Central Coast and the national parks in the Sierra Nevadas. He's lived in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay, and has traveled to over 70 countries. He's an alum of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California.