Portland, OR. The American Red Cross is putting out a call for blood donors because Hurricane Matthew forced the cancellation of numerous blood drives. You can visit http://rdcrss.org/2dkUqE2 or call 1-800-RED CROSS to schedule an appointment. The American Red Cross has also launched a massive sheltering operation with more tens of thousands of people seeking refuge in almost 200 Red Cross and community evacuation shelters across three states. “We’ve prepositioned trained volunteers, response vehicles and trailer loads of supplies in preparation for Hurricane Matthew, but now is the time for folks to stay safe and listen to emergency officials,” said Brad Kieserman, vice president, Disaster Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross. “The life-threatening storm surge, intense winds and heavy rain could cause widespread devastation and recovery challenges that can’t be handled by just one organization. This is a time for neighbors and communities to come together and support one another—and the Red Cross is proud to be one of many organizations providing help.”

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RED CROSS RESPONSE UPDATE: More than 1,800 Red Cross disaster workers are on the ground or traveling to the southeast to support evacuation shelters and response efforts. In addition to providing a safe place to ride out the dangerous storm, the Red Cross is preparing to deliver relief supplies and help people recover from Matthew as soon as it is safe to do so.

The American Red Cross is working closely with the Haitian Red Cross to assess the extent of damage from Hurricane Matthew and get much-needed supplies to people in need. Three American Red Cross teams in Haiti pre-deployed to the affected areas are currently distributing a first round of life-saving relief supplies, including hygiene (cooking) kits, and cholera-prevention kits.

Destruction in the affected area has complicated transit and communications, however initial assessments indicate major needs are shelter, clean water, sanitation and disease prevention related to water-borne illnesses such as cholera, dengue and Zika. Additional relief supplies, such as water purification products, shelter kits, and mosquito nets are being procured locally and internationally. American Red Cross National Headquarters is deploying Disaster Response Specialists, generators, and telecommunications equipment to better support the 200 American Red Cross staff in Haiti to accelerate aid and response efforts.

URGENT NEED FOR BLOOD, PLATELET DONATIONS As the storm barrels into the United States, the Red Cross is unable to collect blood and platelets in many areas along the Southeast coast. So far, Hurricane Matthew has forced the cancellation of approximately 30 Red Cross blood drives in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina resulting in nearly 1,300 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected. The Red Cross is likely to experience additional cancellations in the days ahead as the storm moves north.

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The Red Cross is particularly concerned about the loss of platelet donations in affected areas. Platelets, a key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients, must be transfused within five days of donation and, therefore, are always in demand.

In parts of the country unaffected by the storm, the Red Cross strongly urges eligible individuals to please give blood or platelets now to help ensure we have a readily available blood supply for patients in need. Even before the threat of Hurricane Matthew, there was an urgent need for donors of all blood types, especially type O. Again, Appointments can be made by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

MAKE A DONATION The Red Cross depends on donations to provide immediate relief. Help people affected by Hurricane Matthew in the U.S. by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word MATTHEW to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visitredcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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