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Chef José Andrés activates charity to serve meals in Puerto Rico after earthquake

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Chef José Andrés on Tuesday activated his charity to serve meals to the people of Puerto Rico after two massive earthquakes struck the island in as many days.

World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit organization founded by the celebrity restauranteur that has developed a reputation for providing free meals to those affected by natural disasters, tweeted that the Chefs for Puerto Rico team began cooking shortly after “being shaken awake this morning.”

Puerto Rico was struck by a 6.4 magnitude quake around 4:24 a.m. local time, killing one man and injuring at least eight other people, according to The Associated Press. A 6.0 magnitude aftershock was reportedly felt a few hours later.

That is the second powerful earthquake to hit the U.S. territory after roughly 10 days of seismic activity and temblors.

A 5.8 magnitude earthquake on Monday toppled the Punta Ventana, a famed natural stone arch along Puerto Rico’s southern coast. 

The AP reported that power plants shut down to protect themselves from damage, leaving residents in the dark.

World Central Kitchen wrote that they will be distributing solar lamps to families with the help of their partner, Hispanic Federation.

Florida Sens. Marco Rubio (R) and Rick Scott (R), as well as Resident Commissioner Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon (R), sent a letter to President Trump on Tuesday urging him to accept Puerto Rican Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced’s request for a disaster declaration.

Vásquez told the AP that roughly 300,000 households remained without running water on Tuesday afternoon. She added that she had not yet spoken to the president, though the White House said he has been briefed on the situation. 

“Administration officials, including FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor, have been in touch with the Governor and her team today, and we will continue to monitor the effects and coordinate with Puerto Rico officials,” a Trump spokesman said.

Andrés, a frequent Trump critic, thanked the GOP lawmakers for their emergency push and wrote: “Let’s hope @realDonaldTrump listens to you.”

The chef, a Spanish immigrant who became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2013, canceled his planned restaurant in Trump’s D.C. hotel after Trump referred to Mexican immigrants as rapists and other criminals during his 2015 campaign announcement.

The Trump Organization sued Andrés for breach of contract and he countersued, but the parties eventually settled the dispute.

Andrés and his charity served thousands of meals in Puerto Rico after the island was devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017. He was also forcefully critical of Trump’s handling of that disaster.

The Hill has reached out to World Central Kitchen for more information.

Tags Donald Trump Earthquake Hurricane Maria Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon Jose Andres Marco Rubio power shortage Puerto Rico Rick Scott Wanda Vázquez World Central Kitchen

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