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Chefs Guy Fieri and José Andrés Feed Thousands of California Wildfire Victims
Celebrity chefs Guy Fieri, José Andrés and food relief organizations are serving thousands of meals to first responders and evacuees of California's raging wildfires.
There are 15 serious wildfires burning across California as of Tuesday, with 12,300 firefighters battling the infernos. The flames have scorched more than 280,000 acres across the state, forcing more than 44,000 residents to evacuate.
Northern California's Carr Fire, the largest of the wildfires, started on July 23 and tore through the city of Redding. It destroyed more than 1,200 buildings, killed six people and displaced tens of thousands.
Fieri—a Santa Rosa resident who also served barbecue to victims and first responders of last year's wine country fires—headed to Redding on Saturday. Two days later, members of Andrés' nonprofit World Central Kitchen joined the "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives" host and fellow food first responders Operation BBQ Relief to provide meals for those in shelters and to first responders, according to CNN.
"My team and I got involved. My son and his buddies, and a bunch of my buddies, loaded up the caravan from wine country and drove four hours up here," Fieri told CNN. "We are just working arm-in-arm with the Salvation Army, local chefs, residents and everybody helping out all of the evacuees."
The team was able to make more than 1,000 meals twice a day for those affected by the wildfires, Nate Mook, executive director for World Central Kitchen told CNN.
Fieri added, "It's unbelievable to see what folks are going through, but it's even more unbelievable just how great this community is, and [to see] all these folks that have come together."
World Central Kitchen, founded by Michelin-starred chef Andrés in 2010 to provide meals in the wake of natural disasters, also served food to those in need during last year's devastating Thomas Fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, the largest wildfire in the state's modern history.
The nonprofit is coordinating with California's Office of Emergency Services, the Red Cross, and the Salvation Army to oversee food relief. With partners Operation BBQ Relief and Fieri, they established a central kitchen in California that is prepared to provide 5,000 meals across five evacuation centers every day.
Andrés is not currently in the state but is monitoring the situation and will fly in if needed, Mook told CNN.
"We got six chefs in Redding. Depending on the need we will bring more chefs and volunteers. We don't know what the next four days will look like, so he will be paying close attention," he said.
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President Donald Trump mocked water-efficiency standards in new constructions last week. Trump said, "People are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times, as opposed to once. They end up using more water. So, EPA is looking at that very strongly, at my suggestion." Trump asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a federal review of those standards since, he claimed with no evidence, that they are making bathrooms unusable and wasting water, as NBC News reported.
By Carey Gillam
Former Monsanto Chairman and CEO Hugh Grant will have to testify in person at a St. Louis-area trial set for January in litigation brought by a cancer-stricken woman who claims her disease was caused by exposure to the company's Roundup herbicide and that Monsanto covered up the risks instead of warning consumers.
A powerful volcano on Monday rocked an uninhabited island frequented by tourists about 30 miles off New Zealand's coast. Authorities have confirmed that five people died. They expect that number to rise as some are missing and police officials issued a statement that flights around the islands revealed "no signs of life had been seen at any point,", as The Guardian reported.
"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," the police said in their official statement. "Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."
The eruption happened on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, an islet jutting out of the Bay of Plenty, off the country's North Island. The island is privately owned and is typically visited for day-trips by thousands of tourists every year, according to The New York Times.
My god, White Island volcano in New Zealand erupted today for first time since 2001. My family and I had gotten off it 20 minutes before, were waiting at our boat about to leave when we saw it. Boat ride home tending to people our boat rescued was indescribable. #whiteisland pic.twitter.com/QJwWi12Tvt— Michael Schade (@sch) December 9, 2019
Michael Schade / Twitter
At the time of the eruption on Monday, about 50 passengers from the Ovation of Seas were on the island, including more than 30 who were part of a Royal Caribbean cruise trip, according to CNN. Twenty-three people, including the five dead, were evacuated from the island.
The eruption occurred at 2:11 pm local time on Monday, as footage from a crater camera owned and operated by GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazards agency, shows. The camera also shows dozens of people walking near the rim as white smoke billows just before the eruption, according to Reuters.
Police were unable to reach the island because searing white ash posed imminent danger to rescue workers, said John Tims, New Zealand's deputy police commissioner, as he stood next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a press conference, as The New York Times reported. Tims said rescue workers would assess the safety of approaching the island on Tuesday morning. "We know the urgency to go back to the island," he told reporters.
"The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island," Tims added, as CNN reported. "It's important that we consider the health and safety of rescuers, so we're taking advice from experts going forward."
Authorities have had no communication with anyone on the island. They are frantically working to identify how many people remain and who they are, according to CNN.
Geologists said the eruption is not unexpected and some questioned why the island is open to tourism.
"The volcano has been restless for a few weeks, resulting in the raising of the alert level, so that this eruption is not really a surprise," said Bill McGuire, emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, as The Guardian reported.
"White Island has been a disaster waiting to happen for many years," said Raymond Cas, emeritus professor at Monash University's school of earth, atmosphere and environment, as The Guardian reported. "Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter."
The prime minister arrived Monday night in Whakatane, the town closest to the eruption, where day boats visiting the island are docked. Whakatane has a large Maori population.
Ardern met with local council leaders on Monday. She is scheduled to meet with search and rescue teams and will speak to the media at 7 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EST), after drones survey the island, as CNN reported.
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