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Celebrity Chef José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen (WCK), which has been feeding Ukrainian refugees since the onset of the Russian invasion, was hit by a missile attack in the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv over the weekend, injuring four restaurant staffers and killing one person in the strike.
Over the past month, the humanitarian kitchen has reportedly served up more than 4 million meals to refugees fleeing the Russian onslaught. That’s an estimated average of 250,000 meals to Ukrainians each day. The nonprofit has locations in approximately 30 cities.
WCK CEO Nate Mook announced on Saturday that one of the kitchen’s restaurant partners was hit by a missile. He took video of the building’s devastation from the hit. He also announced that the four wounded will be okay and that the mission continues.
“As you can see, tremendous amounts of damage, still a fire in the building there. Right here is the kitchen area. It goes back. A lot of damage to the kitchen as well. A number of staff were wounded. They’re at the hospital right now. Nobody was killed in the restaurant, but we are told that one person was killed in this strike. This was a big hit, as you can see. Over a dozen cars burned out all around me. Pieces of cars in a tree here. Just a tremendous amount of carnage left behind for no reason,” Mook noted.
“An update I hoped I’d never have to make. I’m at a @WCKitchen restaurant in Kharkiv, where less than 24 hours ago I was meeting with their amazing team. Today, a missile stuck. 4 staff were wounded. This is the reality here—cooking is a heroic act of bravery. #ChefsForUkraine,” Mook tweeted.
“The work doesn’t stop! Today, the restaurant team is moving all food products & non-damaged equipment to another kitchen location in Kharkiv. The injured staff are doing well—and all the team here wants to continue cooking. Truly in awe at the bravery of our @WCKitchen partners!” he added.
The work doesn’t stop! Today, the restaurant team is moving all food products & non-damaged equipment to another kitchen location in Kharkiv. The injured staff are doing well—and all the team here wants to continue cooking. Truly in awe at the bravery of our @WCKitchen partners! pic.twitter.com/O5zayN0WOJ
— Nate Mook (@natemook) April 17, 2022
Mook described the scene as one of “horrific brutality.”
Andrés sent out a statement as well, tweeting, “The WCK team and our fellow Ukrainians are unnerved but safe after a missile attack on a restaurant in Kharkiv. Giving food in the middle of a senseless war is an act of courage, resilience, resistance… and we will continue cooking.”
Mook told CNN on Sunday, “It really was quite miraculous that more people were not killed or even injured. Four staff from the restaurant were injured and taken to the hospital. I visited three of them today. Three women that were still there. One was released. They have a number of burns on their bodies. But they are all in good spirits and they are recovering well.”
He praised the kitchen’s Ukrainian partners for their bravery and their continued service to those in need, and said WCK “will continue to do what we can to support them.”
I want to introduce you to 3 brave staff from @WCKitchen restaurant Yaposhka! Yulia, Liza, and Yulia are in good spirits & recovering in the hospital after the missile attack. Yulia—next to me—said she’s excited to come back to help feed 1000s once her burns heal. True heroes! 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/xqqJe4mjcw
— Nate Mook (@natemook) April 17, 2022
Ukrainian officials reported that missile attacks in Kharkiv, which is the second-largest city in Ukraine, hit apartment buildings, markets, and shops, with many catching on fire and killing at least seven people, according to The Week.
On Sunday, the Executive Director of the UN’s World Food Programme, David Beasley, stated on “Face the Nation” that storage facilities containing food that were blown up indicated another war tactic being employed by the Russians.
“There is no question that food is being used as a weapon of war in many different ways [in Ukraine],” he asserted.
Food depots are being bombed by Russia says UN’s @WFPChief Beasley who argues that hunger is being used as a weapon by Putin. https://t.co/6Frvr8CwRP
— Margaret Brennan (@margbrennan) April 17, 2022
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