Chef José Andrés pushes back on criticism of airdrops into Gaza: Bring food ‘any way we can’


(WASHINGTON) — Chef and humanitarian José Andrés, whose nonprofit World Central Kitchen has been sending significant aid into Gaza amid the Israel-Hamas war, on Sunday pushed back on criticism that airdrops into the Palestinian territory are wrong because they are hypocritical and insufficient compared to broader solutions.

“We need to bring food into Gaza any way we can,” Andrés told ABC News “This Week” co-anchor Jonathan Karl, calling the situation there “desperate.”

According to the U.N., more than 570,000 people in Gaza are on the brink of experiencing famine levels of hunger due to the continuing conflict.

While Andrés said the broader goal should be to simply allow a “daily, constant and massive” flow of trucks into Gaza, “I don’t think we need to be criticizing that Jordan, America are doing airdrops. If anything, we should be applauding any initiative that brings food into Gaza.”

He was responding to a recent statement from an official with the anti-poverty group Oxfam opposing the airdrops.

The Oxfam statement this weekend said the airdrops “mostly serve to relieve the guilty consciences of senior US officials whose policies are contributing to the ongoing atrocities and risk of famine in Gaza.”

Andrés dismissed that on Sunday, saying, “This is probably written by somebody that doesn’t have — who has a lot of time on his hands.”

Three U.S. Air Force cargo planes dropped 66 bundles containing about 38,000 meals into Gaza on Saturday in a joint operation with the Jordanian Air Force.

This comes as the Biden administration — which is supporting Israel in its military campaign against Hamas after Hamas’ Oct. 7 terror attack — is continuing to push for more support to reach civilians in Gaza.

Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry says that more than 100 people were killed late last week in a chaotic scene as they surged around a convoy of aid trucks in northern Gaza amid Israeli military gunfire. (Israel insists its forces only opened fire when people got too close to one of their tanks.)

“This is the perfect example that shows you that really people are in need of food and water, they are desperate,” Andrés said on “This Week.” “Mothers, fathers they want to feed their children. So, what you saw there is exactly the example of their desperation.”

World Central Kitchen has provided more food aid to Gaza than any other nongovernmental organization, delivering more than 350,000 meals a day.

“The men and women of World Central Kitchen, they don’t follow a plan, they always adapt,” Andrés told Karl, adding, “We had more than 62, 63 kitchens functioning every day. Each one with its bakery, making bread from scratch. We’ve been able to bring thousands of kitchens that allow us to cook without the need to be cutting trees. It’s just simple logistics.”

“The north is where the main need is right now,” he said of Gaza.

The Palestinians “are surrounded by the sea and by three big walls. They have nowhere to go,” he said.

Andrés also called for more pathways for aid to be opened — not just by air and by truck convoys but by sea, which is something U.S. officials have said they are considering.

“I hope it’s going to happen soon, where we can be bringing hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of meals,” Andrés said.

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