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Hurricane Matthew Devastates Haiti; Red Cross Gets Ready for Massive Relief Operation along East Coast

Hurricane Preparedness

More than 100 evacuation shelters preparing to open in U.S.; blood drives cancelled

WASHINGTON, D.C. – October 5, 2016 — As predicted, Hurricane Matthew devastated the entire southern region of Haiti overnight with wind damage, flooding, houses which have been destroyed or washed away, landslides, power outages, and crop losses.

While the southern edge of the storm is still in Haiti, affecting the northern part of the country, the 200-strong in-country American Red Cross staff and its Haitian partners are conducting initial damage assessments today to begin emergency response efforts and distributions. IT/Telecommunications equipment is being mobilized to further support overall communication and coordination in country, and emergency relief supplies, including hygiene kits, kitchen kits, and cholera kits are being delivered to vulnerable locations in the north and south.

In the United States, the American Red Cross is preparing a large multi-state response to help people in the path of Hurricane Matthew as the storm heads toward the southeast coast. The Red Cross has shelters, more than 500 disaster workers and 90 response vehicles standing by in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. In Florida, the Red Cross is prepared to open or support as many as 100 evacuation shelters and has more than 30 emergency response vehicles standing by. In South Carolina, the Red Cross plans to open or support 19 evacuation shelters today, and dozens of additional shelters are ready to open in Georgia and North Carolina, as needed. The Red Cross has also prepositioned 30 trailer loads of sheltering supplies, ready-to-eat meals as well as clean-up kits and comfort kits containing personal hygiene items.

“We’re preparing for a large response across several states, opening dozens of shelters to make sure people have a safe place to stay and food to eat as Hurricane Matthew marches northward,” said Brad Kieserman, vice president, Disaster Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross. “This is a dangerous storm, the most powerful Atlantic hurricane since Felix in 2007. As the Red Cross gets ready, we urge people who may live in the path of this storm to make their own preparations now. It’s critical that coastal residents pay close attention to the forecast and listen to their local authorities, as even a small shift in the storm could have a significant impact.”

The Red Cross is also working in close collaboration with government officials and community partners to coordinate preparedness activities and potential response efforts.

DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY APP Everyone should download the Red Cross Emergency App to have safety information available on their mobile device, including emergency weather alerts, safety information and shelter locations. Red Cross apps are available in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to

HAVE A DISASTER KIT Include a gallon of water per person - enough for three days, a three-day supply of non-perishable food, family and emergency contact information, copies of important papers and a map of the area. More details on what to include are available here.

HURRICANE SAFETY People living in the path of the hurricane should listen to local officials and obey any evacuation orders. Other safety steps include:

  • Know your evacuation route.
  • Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind.
  • Close doors, windows and hurricane shutters. If someone doesn’t have shutters, close and board up all windows and doors with plywood.
  • Fill the car’s gas tank.
  • Avoid flooded roads and bridges. Turn around, don’t drown.
  • PLEASE GIVE BLOOD Hurricane Matthew has already forced the cancellation of about a dozen Red Cross blood drives in South Carolina resulting in approximately 570 donations going uncollected. Dozens more blood drive cancellations are possible along the East Coast depending on the path and impact of the storm.

    In addition to blood drive cancellations, the Red Cross is also at risk of being unable to collect more than 100 platelet donations if donation centers are forced to close over the next few days. 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.

    The Red Cross has sent additional blood products to areas likely to be impacted by the storm and will send more as needed to ensure patient needs continue to be met.

    The Red Cross encourages eligible donors in parts of the country unaffected by the storm to please give blood or platelets 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 or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

    MAKE A DONATION The work of the American Red Cross starts long before a hurricane makes landfall in the United States. For example, we have warehouses stocked with disaster relief supplies, thousands of trained workers, and more than 320 mobile response vehicles on standby year-round to be ready to help people in need. If we didn’t maintain these resources 24/7, we couldn’t get help to people in a timely fashion—but we depend on donations from the American public to be ready.

    Help people affected by disasters like hurricanes, floods and countless other crises by making a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small across the United States. Visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

    CORPORATIONS HELP The generous donations from members of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) and the Disaster Responder Program enable the American Red Cross to prepare communities for disasters big and small, respond whenever and wherever disasters occur and help families during the recovery process.

    ADGP $1 Million members are: American Airlines; Anheuser-Busch Foundation; Anthem Foundation; Boise Paper; Caterpillar Foundation; Costco Wholesale; Delta Air Lines; Disney; Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation; FedEx; The Home Depot Foundation; Humble Bundle; LDS Charities; Lowe's Companies, Inc.; Mazda North American Operations; Merck Foundation; Nationwide Foundation; State Farm; Target; UPS; VSP℠ Vision care for life; Walmart and the Walmart Foundation; and The Wawa Foundation.

    ADGP $500,000 members are: 3M; Altria Group; American Express; Aon; Bank of America; Capital One; Cisco Foundation; Citi Foundation; Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation; Discover; Edison International; Farmers Insurance; Ford Motor Company; Grainger; John Deere Foundation; Johnson Controls; Medtronic; Meijer; Mondelēz International Foundation; National Grid; PepsiCo Foundation; Procter & Gamble Company; Prudential Foundation; Ryder; Southwest Airlines; Sprint; Sunoco; The TJX Companies, Inc.; United Airlines; United Technologies Corporation; Visa; and Wells Fargo.

    Disaster Responder Program members are: Alcoa; Almost Family; Astellas USA Foundation; AT&T; AvalonBay Communities, Inc.; AXA; Ball Foundation; BNY Mellon; CarMax; The Clorox Company; Cox Automotive; DTE Energy Foundation; Duke Energy; Entergy Corporation; General Motors Foundation; Harbor Freight Tools; Hewlett Packard Enterprise Foundation; Hi-Rez Studios; HP Foundation; IBM Corporation; IKEA; Ingersoll Rand Foundation; Interstate All Battery Center; Land O’Lakes, Inc.; MetLife Foundation; Morgan Stanley; Neiman Marcus Group; New Balance Foundation; Northrop Grumman Corporation; Northwestern Mutual and the Northwestern Mutual Foundation; PSEG Foundation; PuroClean Disaster Recovery; Red Heart Yarns; SC Johnson; ScriptRelief; Sealed Air; SERVPRO; Southeastern Grocers Home of BI-LO Harveys Winn Dixie; TOYOTA; The USAA Foundation; U.S. Bank; and U-Haul International.

    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 visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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