The effects of Hurricane Matthew are still being felt in several southeast states including North Carolina, where deadly floods have cut off entire communities. The massive American Red Cross sheltering effort spans five states and has provided nearly as many overnight stays in shelters as after Superstorm Sandy.
Since Hurricane Matthew first threatened the U.S., Red Cross and community shelters have provided nearly 70,000 overnight stays. Nearly 7,000 people in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Virginia woke up Monday morning in 156 Red Cross and community evacuation shelters. The Red Cross has mobilized more than 3,000 disaster workers, 149 response vehicles—almost half of our fleet—and 100 trailers filled with water, ready-to-eat meals, shelter and kitchen supplies, cleaning supplies and comfort kits, insect repellant, gloves, masks, shovels, rakes, coolers and more. More assistance is being mobilized now.
Two additional Hawaii Red Cross volunteers deployed to assist in the Red Cross response to Hurricane Matthew. Oahu volunteer Barbara Dinoff will be assisting with Staffing Services in North Carolina and Big Island volunteer Tony Colombo will be assisting with Bulk Distribution in Florida. They join ten other Hawaii Red Cross volunteers assisting with this response bringing the total number of Hawaii Red Cross volunteers deployed for Hurricane Matthew to twelve.
Two Big Island volunteers, Neill Bell and Royden Mahi Jr., two Oahu volunteers, Karen Awana and Paulette Didibar, and one Maui volunteer, Michael Hunter are assisting with Sheltering in South Carolina. One Big Island volunteer, Patrice Johnson and one Oahu volunteer, Candy Iha, are assisting with Health Services in Florida. Also in Florida are Big Island volunteer Cathy Lewis, assisting with Staff Services, Big Island volunteer Marty Moran, assisting with Safety Services, and Maui volunteer Patricia Tracy, assisting with Sheltering.
A volunteer from Guam, which is part of the Red Cross Pacific Islands Region, including Hawaii and the Northern Mariana Islands is also deploying. James Saunders will be assisting with Damage Assessment in Georgia.
“Matthew isn’t done with us yet. In North Carolina, the storm is causing deadly flooding and we have safe shelters open where conditions permit,” said Brad Kieserman, vice president, Disaster Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross. “Our first priority is keeping people safe. We anticipate flooding may continue for days in the Carolinas and we are working with the entire response community to make everyone safely gets the help they need.”
U.S. DISASTER RESPONSE
In North Carolina, 72 shelters were open Sunday night with more than 1,850 people. The Red Cross has positioned more than 400 workers, 17 response vehicles and 15 trailer loads of supplies in the state. In South Carolina, 41 shelters were open Sunday night with 1,780 people. The Red Cross has positioned more than 900 workers, 33 response vehicles and 18 trailer loads of supplies in the state. In Georgia, 19 shelters were open Sunday night with 2,830 people. The Red Cross has positioned more than 500 workers, 39 response vehicles and 7 trailer loads of supplies in the state. In Florida, many people have returned home, but Sunday night there were still 21 shelters open with more than 440 people seeking refuge. The Red Cross has positioned more than 1,300 workers, 60 response vehicles and 60 trailer loads of supplies in the state. In Virginia, there were 60 people in 3 shelters Sunday night.
If someone needs to find a shelter, they can visit redcross.org, check the Red Cross Emergency App or call 1-800-768-8048. The free Red Cross Emergency App gives users emergency weather alerts, safety and shelter information on their mobile devices. Red Cross apps are available in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
MAKE A DONATION The Red Cross depends on donations to provide immediate relief. Help people affected by Hurricane Matthew 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. Learn more about the Red Cross response to Hurricane Matthew here.
The American Red Cross is working closely with the Haitian Red Cross to assess the extent of damage and get much-needed supplies to the 61,000 residents displaced by Hurricane Matthew.
Basic infrastructure such as communication systems, water systems and electricity are highly damaged and non-functional in some locations. Major needs include shelter, clean water and sanitation, and American Red Cross teams in Haiti pre-deployed to the affected areas are now 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. Given the extent of the damage and the continued difficultly in reaching several of the affected areas, the American Red Cross is playing a key coordination role with local authorities and international humanitarian organizations to ensure life-saving support and supplies reach all those in need as soon as possible.
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.
Destroyed communication systems, coupled with poor road accessibility, are preventing people from reaching their family members in affected areas. Those searching for non-U.S. citizen family members can contact the American Red Cross Restoring Family Links unit at redcross.org/reconnectingfamilies. The best way to locate U.S. citizens living or traveling overseas is to contact the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services, at 1-888-407-4747 or +1 202-501-4444.
HUNDREDS OF BLOOD, PLATELET DONATIONS GO UNCOLLECTED
As flooding from Hurricane Matthew inundates the Carolinas, the storm continues to impact the nation’s blood supply. So far, Hurricane Matthew has forced the cancellation of approximately 40 Red Cross blood drives in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia resulting in more than 1,500 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected. More cancellations are likely along the Southeast coast of the U.S. as floodwaters ravage many areas.
The need for platelets is especially critical due to the loss of these 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 needs 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. 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).