Chef José Andrés Documented This Heartbreaking Scene In Haiti

Haiti is the poorest country in Latin America and among the poorest in the world, according to the World Bank. Tragically, major natural disasters powerfully determine the way of life in Haiti.

In 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake centered near the capital killed nearly a quarter of a million people and left 1.5 million homeless, according to the Disasters Emergency Committee. When Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti in 2016, the town of Jeremie on the southern peninsula was 80% destroyed, per BBC. Earlier this month, the southern peninsula was the epicenter of an even more powerful earthquake than the one that devastated Haiti 11 years earlier. The earthquake was farther from dense population centers, but still, more than 2,000 people died. Communities in the more remote southern peninsula have been left to fend for themselves by a national government in total upheaval (via The New York Times). Haiti's president was assassinated in July, and a temporary government is struggling to offer relief.

This makes the work of chef José Andrés and the aid organization he founded all the more important. An Instagram video posted August 27 shows Andrés and World Central Kitchen in Haiti currently. They are feeding people affected by the recent earthquake.

Chef José Andrés said in Haiti, it's hard to separate earthquake victims from people with chronic hunger

Chef José Andrés' Instagram video shows a heartbreaking scene in the aftermath of the August 14 earthquake in Haiti. Andrés shows a pile of rubble where a beautiful Catholic church once stood in the village of Maniche. Many homes in the village had collapsed, too — although other relief organizations were already on the scene, starting to rebuild the most important structures, Andrés said. He went on to explain that people who lived in the center of the village, in concrete homes, were worse off than people living in the mountains, in lighter-weight tin shacks. "But still, it's loss of homes, and rain is coming as you can see," he said.

Andrés went on to explain that conditions in Haiti are so chronically awful, it's hard to tell the difference between people suffering the effects of the earthquake and people who are experiencing long-term hunger. "In the end, you feed who you feel has been directly or indirectly impacted," he said.

Chef Andrés founded World Central Kitchen in 2010, according to the organization's media webpage. World Central Kitchen feeds people during crises but also trains chefs in vulnerable communities, and supports farmers, fishers, and small businesses to promote food resiliency. The nonprofit had its first relief kitchen up and running within 24 hours of the earthquake, according to its website.