I’m sure you remember that in September 2017, Hurricane Maria devastated the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico when it hit as a Category 5 storm.
It is regarded as the worst natural disaster in recorded history to affect those islands and was also the deadliest Atlantic hurricane since Mitch in 1998.
At its peak, the hurricane caused catastrophic destruction and numerous fatalities across the northeastern Caribbean, causing difficulty in recovery efforts in the areas of the Leeward Islands already struck by Hurricane Irma.
Total losses from the hurricane were estimated at upwards of $91.61 billion, mostly in Puerto Rico, ranking it as the third-costliest storm on record.
Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico causing local and federal officials to have trouble getting to entire towns and cities that had been thrown into darkness and cut off from highways and communication.
Four days after watching Hurricane Maria ravage Puerto Rico, killing dozens and leaving much of the island without electricity, celebrity chef José Andrés decided he needed to do something.
Andrés quickly mobilized a team with a goal of offering fresh, hot meals to the victims, something that government organizations and agencies including the Red Cross were unable to do.
Through his nonprofit, World Central Kitchen, Andrés served more than 3.5 million meals via a network of kitchens across Puerto Rico.
Andrés hoped to show that chefs can be just as essential as medics when disaster strikes.
“You bring doctors for health care in disasters,” he says. “When you have to feed people and be creative about it, you will bring in cooks.”
When José Andrés arrived on the island, he helped organize 19,000 volunteers in 25 makeshift kitchens and served over 3.5 million meals through one of the hardest years in the island’s history.
Beginning first with hospital employees, Andrés and his team fed resource-deprived Puerto Ricans at a time when the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s response to the island’s tremendous need left many vulnerable residents hungry.
The reality is that after a disaster, emergency responders and government agencies focus on search and rescue, drinking water, restoring utilities, and medical care.
Providing food can be left on the back burner.
Many survivors will be provided food bars or other basic things to eat, but having a warm meal that provides different vitamins and nutrients can go a long way in helping people survive disaster and certainly increasing morale.
With that being said, if you have no electricity and no propane or gas, I want to share with you a few different solar cookers that can be used after a disaster to give you a warm meal.
Sunflair Portable Solar Oven Deluxe. This solar unit by Sunflair is a very easy, portable and affordable option. This oven folds up for easy storage and transport since it weighs only one pound.
The only drawback to this cooker is that it only gets up to around 200 degrees Fahrenheit, so don’t plan on cooking fancy meals unless you are willing to wait a few hours. This is a basic cooker that is great for beginners.
SunFlair includes a thermometer, baking trays, dehydrating racks, enamelware, silicone pots and a carrying bag with the purchase, so you’re ready to cook with everything you might need.
GoSun Sport Portable Solar Cooker. The GoSun Sport solar cooker might be the simplest and most effective cooker on the market.
It really is as simple as loading this cooker with whatever you’re cooking and pointing it towards the sun. The little tube can bake, roast, steam and cook with just a little bit of sunlight.
It’s specifically designed to capture ultraviolet light, so you don’t need the full sun to cook with this unit. Even without the full sun, this cooker can reach up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit.
Obviously, the higher temperature capacity the more options you will have to cook.
Plus, you won’t have to wait long for your food to be fully cooked. The unit weighs about 7.5 lbs, so it can be easily carried when needed.
SolSource Sport Solar Cooker. The SolSource Sport solar cooker harnesses solar energy directly by reflecting and intensifying the sun’s rays. Simply set it up and point it towards the sun.
This portable solar cooker can reach 300 degrees Fahrenheit under ideal weather conditions and can boil 0.5 quarts of water in 15-20 minutes.
The SolSource Sport portable stove includes a convenient carrying bag and assembles and disassembles in 3-5 minutes for maximum portability.
It packs down into a 2.5 ft carrying backpack and weighs only 10 Lbs.
The next time you are going through your survival gear, you may want to consider adding a solar oven to the other propane stoves that you own.