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Red Cross Responds to Devastating Effects of Hurricane Irma

Still hovering over Florida, Tropical Storm Irma now threatens much of Southeast

Washington, D.C., September 11, 2017 — After engulfing the entire state of Florida, Irma is now a strong tropical storm as it makes its way out of the state. The American Red Cross is responding all over Florida and across the Southeast, alongside a huge team of partners working to provide safe refuge and support to people forced from their homes by the storm.

Irma is still a powerful storm with strong winds, and surge warnings for as high as 6 feet. There is a possibility of tornadoes and as much as 15 inches of rainfall for some areas. Today, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina are areas that could see heavy rain. In Florida, more than 6.3 million people have been asked to evacuate and another six million people are without electricity. Utility companies are working to restore power and many communities are under strict curfews. People should not attempt to go home until officials say it is safe to do so.

Disasters like Irma create more needs than any one organization can meet alone. The Red Cross is working very closely with the entire response community – government agencies, other non-profit groups, faith-based organizations, area businesses and others – to coordinate emergency relief efforts and get help to people as quickly as possible.

In close collaboration with partners, the Red Cross has a massive relief effort underway to provide safe shelter and help to those in need.

• Overnight, an estimated 208,000 people sought refuge from Hurricane Irma in as many as 680 government and Red Cross evacuation centers across 6 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This includes:

  • In Florida, an estimated 200,000 people in 587 evacuation centers.
  • In Georgia, more than 6,500 people in over 40 evacuation centers.
  • In Alabama, about 40 people in 16 evacuation centers.
  • In South Carolina, about 660 people in 23 evacuation centers.
  • On the U.S. Virgin Islands, almost 380 people in 6 evacuation centers.
  • In Puerto Rico, 154 people in 6 evacuation centers.
  • In Tennessee, 131 people in 4 evacuation centers.
  • In North Carolina, 33 people in 4 evacuation centers.
  • • To date, evacuation centers have provided more than 377,000 overnight stays to people needing a safe place to go.

    More than 1,800 Red Cross workers are responding to Irma now with 400 more volunteers on the way.

    Almost 100 emergency response vehicles have been activated to help deliver meals and relief supplies.

    More than 55 million hurricane and flood alerts have been issued through Red Cross mobile apps for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The apps provide shelter locations and real-time information so people can help protect themselves and their loved-ones.

    Irma Cancels Blood Drives in Southeast

    Hurricane Irma forced the cancellation of approximately 55 American Red Cross blood drives in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, resulting in more than 1,300 uncollected blood and platelet donations. Additional blood drive cancellations and lower donor turnout are expected in and around affected areas due to poor weather conditions over the coming days. Ahead of the storm, the Red Cross sent additional blood products to areas of the Southeast including Puerto Rico likely to be impacted by the storm and we are prepared to send more to ensure patient needs continue to be met.

    The Red Cross encourages eligible donors in parts of the country unaffected by Hurricane Irma to give blood or platelets to help ensure a sufficient blood supply. Platelet and type O blood donations are especially needed right now. The Red Cross depends on generous volunteer blood donors to provide lifesaving blood for those in need – each and every day – not only during times of disaster. 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).

    How to Help

    The Red Cross depends on financial donations to be able to provide disaster relief immediately. Help people affected by Hurricane Irma by visiting redcross.org, calling 1- 800-RED CROSS or texting the word IRMA 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; Bank of America; Caterpillar Foundation; The Clorox Company; Costco Wholesale; Delta Air Lines; Disney; Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation; FedEx; General Motors Foundation; Grainger; The Home Depot Foundation; LDS Charities; Lowe's Companies, Inc.; Mazda North American Operations; Microsoft Corp.; Nationwide Foundation; PepsiCo Foundation; State Farm; Target; UPS; VSP Global; Walmart and the Walmart Foundation; and The Wawa Foundation.

    ADGP $500,000 members are: Altria Group; American Express; Aon; Boise Paper; Capital One; Cisco Foundation; Citi Foundation; Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation; Discover; Edison International; Farmers Insurance; Ford Motor Company; Humble Bundle; International Paper; John Deere Foundation; Johnson Controls; McDonald’s Corporation; Medtronic Foundation; Meijer; Merck Foundation; Mondelēz International Foundation; Procter & Gamble Company; Reynolds American Foundation; Ryder; Southwest Airlines; Sunoco; TD Ameritrade; The TJX Companies, Inc.; United Airlines; and Wells Fargo.

    Disaster Responder Program members are: Adobe; Alcoa; Alliance Data; Astellas USA Foundation; AT&T; AvalonBay Communities, Inc.; AXA; The Ball Foundation; BMW of North America; BNY Mellon; CarMax; Cox Automotive; Duke Energy; Entergy Corporation; Harbor Freight Tools Foundation; Hewlett Packard Enterprise Foundation; HP Foundation; IBM Corporation; IHG Foundation; Ingersoll Rand Foundation; The J.M. Smucker Company; Land O’Lakes, Inc.; Mastercard; Morgan Stanley; Neiman Marcus Group; New Balance Foundation; Northrop Grumman Corporation; Northwestern Mutual and the Northwestern Mutual Foundation; Prudential Foundation; SC Johnson; SERVPRO; Southeastern Grocers Home of BI-LO Harveys Winn Dixie; Standard Textile; Toyota; U-Haul International; United Technologies Corporation; The USAA Foundation; U.S. Bank; and Visa.

    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 redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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