The American Red Cross is still helping people impacted by Hurricane Matthew more than a week ago, providing shelter, food, relief supplies and hope across four states. Matthew also continues to impact blood collections in the southeast, leading to a nationwide urgent need for blood and donations.
Thousands of people across four states are still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, and the Red Cross is helping. More than 1,500 people in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida are still seeking refuge in 31 Red Cross and community shelters. This widespread relief effort includes three-fourths of our vehicle fleet and more overnight stays in shelters than Superstorm Sandy. The Red Cross has mobilized almost 5,000 disaster workers, 235 response vehicles, 19 partner-supported kitchens as well as truckloads of water, ready-to-eat meals, cots, blankets, kitchen items, cleaning supplies and comfort kits, insect repellant, gloves, masks, shovels, rakes, coolers and more.
As conditions permit, Red Cross response vehicles are circulating through the hardest-hit areas, delivering food and relief supplies. Overall, Red Cross and community partners have served more than 931,000 meals and snacks, distributed more than 187,000 relief items, supported more than 19,000 health and mental health services, and provided 93,000 overnight stays in shelters.
Helping on the ground:
Steve Havens and Jan Unger of Michigan, and Tom Jacobs and Anne Johnson of Flagstaff, Arizona, were tired after a long week of supporting Hurricane Matthew, but very proud of the long trip that they had made out to North Carolina, driving Red Cross Emergency Response vehicles. They were very happy to finally have access to the Lumberton community, which had been rendered inaccessible by flood waters, and be able to bring hot food and warm smiles to the members of this community who suffered so much this week.
Flood waters are starting to go down in North Carolina and South Carolina but major flooding is still occurring along some rivers. It may take another week for rivers to go below flood stage. In Florida alone, officials estimate as many as 1,700 homes were destroyed or received major damage. Damage assessment is ongoing in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina and with some areas still underwater, will take some time to complete. U.S. officials are reporting damage of at least $10 billion, making Matthew the costliest hurricane since Sandy in 2012. Overall, Matthew dumped 13.6 trillion gallons of water on the U.S., enough to fill the Rose Bowl 163,000 times. The 14 inches that fell in Fayetteville, N.C., was the city's rainiest single day on record.
The Red Cross is working in close collaboration with government officials and community partners to coordinate response efforts to ensure people receive the help they need as quickly as possible. Some of these partners include Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SEND Relief), The Salvation Army, Islamic Relief USA, AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, AmeriCares, DOVES, Lott Cary, National Baptist Convention of America, Operation HOPE, Legal Services Corporation, IOCC – International Orthodox Christian Charities, UCC – United Church of Christ, and Partnership with Native Americans, among others.
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.
GIVE BLOOD, PLATELETS 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).