In recent weeks, a humanitarian crisis has unfolded as the Taliban seized the majority of Afghanistan, including the capital Kabul. Individuals and families have fled and been evacuated rapidly to various countries across the globe including Washington, DC and Spain. Through a combination of cooking out of our kitchen in Madrid and utilizing local restaurants in other locations, World Central Kitchen (WCK) is providing Afghan refugees with comforting meals as flights land.
Nearly 100,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan since August 14. Refugees flying into Dulles International Airport in Virginia are bused to a nearby temporary layover location before flying to processing centers at Fort Bliss in Texas or Fort McCoy in Wisconsin. An air base in Madrid, Spain is a reception center for Afghan refugees who arrive in a state of extreme exhaustion and stay for about 48 hours before being transferred to other locations for processing.
WCK is providing meals to Afghan nationals at Dulles International Airport in Virginia. As many of them have not eaten in hours (or days) by the time they land, our teams are providing meals before they are taken to Dulles Expo Center where they await their next flights. We anticipate providing between 2,500-3,000 meals per day. In Spain, WCK is providing between 300-1,200 meals daily, prepared at our kitchen in Madrid, to Afghan refugees arriving before being transferred about 48 hours later.
Some refugees arrive carrying only a bookbag, purse, or plastic bag with their belongings (if not empty-handed), and some have not eaten for many hours or even days. Food brings communities together and is a common language we all share. A hot plate of food provides comfort and sustenance in difficult times. By serving delicious and culturally appropriate meals to Afghan refugees arriving in Spain and the U.S., we hope to lend our support in the best way we know: through good food and hope.