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Hurricane relief: Red Cross providing shelter, food, water—needs blood

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The Red Cross has a critical need for blood and platelet donations to help meet patient needs. This fall, Hurricane Michael and Hurricane Florence have forced the cancellation of about 200 blood drives, causing approximately 7,000 units of blood to go uncollected in the Southeast.

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Hurricane Michael left a vast path of destruction behind, resulting in thousands of people living in dismal conditions. Home after home is destroyed, and many people have lost everything. Entire neighborhoods are still inaccessible, making it difficult to get help to people living there or determine the full scope of the devastation.

The storm damaged medical facilities, schools and businesses. Tens of thousands have no power, water or sewer service as temperatures hover in the high 80s. Like always, the American Red Cross is in Florida, Georgia and Alabama providing safe shelter, food and water and comfort.

The Red Cross is working around the clock with our partners to get help to where it’s most needed, and we’re reaching more neighborhoods each day. With the magnitude of destruction and many roads impassable, we know that getting help into some areas will be challenging for some time.

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We’re working with partners like the National Guard to move volunteers and supplies, and to support dozens of shelters where people can find comfort and refuge.

niceville hurricane michael red cross

Local Panama City resident Jay Postley was happy to receive a hot meal from the American Red Cross. Jay lives in an apartment complex that is still without utility services due to the impact of Hurricane Michael. “Did you see that car down stairs with the tree on it? That’s mine,” said Jay. Jay reported that neighbors are helping one another. “I love her,” said Jay as she wrapped her arm around her neighbor. Photo by Daniel Cima/American Red Cross.

With the help of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, several mobile kitchens are up and cooking hot meals. More kitchens are opening over the next few days.

In some areas, emergency response vehicles can get through with meals and relief supplies.

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Some shelters are being relocated to more comfortable and appropriate locations. People are welcome to come to shelters for help even if they don’t stay overnight.

This is a large disaster, and the Red Cross is working closely with government and nonprofit partners to provide aid. It will take time and require the resources from a large variety of organizations to help families and communities recover.

Shelter
22,000 overnight stays provided with partners

Meals and Snacks
195,000 served with partners

Health and Mental Health
2,900 contacts made

Relief Items
4,700 distributed

Disaster Workers
1,280 helping

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All numbers are cumulative and represent Red Cross response efforts in AL, GA and FL as of October 16, 2018.

The Red Cross has a critical need for blood and platelet donations to help meet patient needs. This fall, Hurricane Michael and Hurricane Florence have forced the cancellation of about 200 blood drives, causing approximately 7,000 units of blood to go uncollected in the Southeast. Low donor turnout is expected to continue in affected areas as communities recover.

The Red Cross asks eligible individuals to make an appointment today by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS.

PHOTO (TOP):  Local resident Walter Anderson accepts hot meals from American Red Cross worker James Hogan in Panama City, FL. Walter and 15 friends and family have gathered in one home together to wait for utilities to be restored. Photo by Daniel Cima/American Red Cross.

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