Bahamas Situation Dire, Damage Hampering Relief Efforts;
Blood Donors Outside Storm Area Asked to Give
WASHINGTON, D.C., September 6, 2019 — The American Red Cross has committed an initial $2 million to assist in meeting the immediate needs of those affected by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas, while continuing to provide shelter and food to thousands of people in the United States.
The storm left unbelievable devastation behind in the Bahamas. Abaco and Grand Bahama were particularly hard hit. Initial aerial assessments show widespread devastation to the islands, from destroyed homes to contaminated water sources.
Jenelle Eli, director, International Communications for the American Red Cross, has deployed to the area and reports the situation is dire, especially on Abaco. Video footage of Abaco shows total obliteration of portions of the island and large areas completely covered by water. Thousands are in need of food and water.
“Our relief operation is growing, but we are also facing serious challenges in terms of delivering aid,” Eli reports. “These challenges include damaged airports and destroyed telecommunications networks. Even search-and-rescue choppers haven’t been able to reach some people because there’s no place to land. These challenges are affecting everyone.”
A rapid assessment and response team is currently focusing on emergency shelter and urgent needs. Relief supplies to support temporary shelter needs of 1,500 families are in country. Red Cross shelter and other sector specialists are on the ground to provide immediate relief while conducting assessments, and search and rescues is a current priority while the full scope and scale of needs is still being determined. Red Cross volunteers and staff will also distribute meals and food rations to people who may have gone without food in days.
Eli continued, “People I spoke to on Abaco today told some pretty horrific stories. Every person I spoke to lost their home. They each had a story about trying to hold their roofs down in the high winds and then running from neighbor’s home to neighbor’s home seeking safety. But each home they sought shelter in got destroyed too. They said that the most damaged areas are decimated.”
Eli reported those she spoke with all echoed this sentiment: “How am I going to start over? This is going to be so hard.” Many of them didn’t know the fate of their loved ones. And they worry that their family members fear them dead since they haven’t been in touch. See more in this video.
LOOKING FOR A LOVED ONE? People concerned about U.S. citizens traveling in the Bahamas should contact the US State Department Office of Overseas Citizens Services at 1-888-407-4747.
WHAT THE RED CROSS IS DOING The first Red Cross aid flight landed in Nassau yesterday afternoon from Panama with 38 tons of relief supplies on board. Two additional flights are planned for this weekend. In terms of current Red Cross response, Red Cross volunteer EMTs and nurses have been helping people evacuated from Abaco and landing at the airport. They are providing first aid and transporting people back and forth to hospitals.
The American Red Cross will also work with our partners to help support people arriving in the U.S. from the Bahamas.
Red Cross organizations involved in the relief operation include the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC), French Red Cross, American Red Cross, Canadian Red Cross, German Red Cross, Danish Red Cross, Ecuadorian Red Cross and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
DORIAN REMAINS A THREAT IN U.S.
As Dorian continues to move along the U.S. coast, the American Red Cross is supporting communities from Florida to Virginia. As weather conditions improve, volunteers will work with partners to assess any damage, and provide food, shelter, relief supplies and comfort to people in need.
The storm is still packing a powerful punch along the East Coast with sustained winds of 90 mph. Hurricane and tropical storm warnings are up from North Carolina to Delaware. Today, more than 2,700 trained Red Cross responders are supporting relief efforts and coordinating with partners to help people seeking refuge in hurricane evacuation centers in Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia.
On Wednesday night, more than 5,600 people stayed in 116 Red Cross and community evacuation shelters. To date, the Red Cross and community organizations have provided more than 36,800 cumulative overnight stays and served more than 85,000 meals and snacks for people affected by Dorian. The Red Cross also pre-positioned additional blood products and stocked hospitals in areas of the Southeast likely to be impacted by the storm.
HOW TO FIND A SHELTER If you evacuated for Hurricane Dorian, do not return until local authorities say it is safe to do so. The Red Cross urges people to also listen to local news for the latest updates on the storm.
Anyone who needs a safe place to go can find information for open Red Cross shelters in our free Red Cross Emergency App. Download the app by searching “American Red Cross” in your app store or by going to redcross.org/apps.
People who plan to stay in a Red Cross shelter should bring prescription medications, extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies, other comfort items and important documents. Don’t forget to bring any special items for children, such as diapers, formula, and toys, or for family members who have unique needs.
Red Cross shelters are open to everyone in need, regardless of race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or citizenship status. All disaster assistance is free. We don’t require people to show any kind of identification to enter a shelter — just their name and pre-disaster address.
More information on hurricane safety and preparedness is available here.
HOW YOU CAN HELP You can make a difference in the lives of people impacted by Hurricane Dorian in both the U.S. and the Bahamas. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS, or text the word DORIAN to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster. In the U.S., this includes providing food, shelter, relief supplies, emotional support, recovery planning and other assistance. In the Bahamas, the American Red Cross has committed an initial contribution of $2 million to support relief efforts and is partnering with the IFRC and the Bahamas Red Cross to help the islands recover.
For those interested in helping people specifically in the Bahamas, they should write “Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas” in the memo line of a check and mail it to their local Red Cross chapter with the completed donation form available at redcross.org/donate.
PLEASE GIVE BLOOD Hurricane Dorian has forced the cancellation of nearly 100 Red Cross blood drives and donation centers in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia resulting in more than 2,300 uncollected blood and platelet donations. We urge eligible individuals in unaffected areas to give blood or platelets to ensure a sufficient blood supply for patients. The Red Cross currently has an urgent need for blood donations following a summer shortage. In addition to cancelled blood drives, we anticipate low blood donor turnout in and around affected areas due to poor weather conditions this week. Schedule an appointment today by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
CORPORATIONS, FOUNDATIONS AND ORGANIZATIONS 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; Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation; FedEx; The Home Depot Foundation; LDS Charities; Lilly Endowment Inc.; Lowe's Companies, Inc.; Mazda North American Operations; Microsoft Corp.; Nationwide Foundation; State Farm; Verizon; VSP Global; Walmart and the Walmart Foundation; and The Walt Disney Company.
ADGP $500,000 members are: Altria Group; AmazonSmile; Aon; BMW of North America; Capital One; Cisco Foundation; Citi Foundation; CSX; Darden Foundation; Delta Dental Community Care Foundation; Discover; Energy Transfer/Sunoco Foundation; Ford Motor Company; Fox Corporation; General Motors; Grainger; HCA Healthcare; Humble Bundle; IBM Corporation; International Paper; The J.M. Smucker Company; Johnson Controls Foundation; LHC Group; Merck Foundation; Mondelēz International Foundation; New Balance Foundation; Nissan North America; PepsiCo Foundation; Procter & Gamble Company; PwC Charitable Foundation; Sands Cares; Southwest Airlines; Target; The TJX Companies, Inc.; Toyota; United Airlines; UPS; The USAA Foundation, Inc.; The Wawa Foundation; and Wells Fargo.
Disaster Responder Program members are: 7-Eleven Cares Foundation; Adobe; AdvoCare International L.P.; American Express; Assurant; AstraZeneca; AT&T; AvalonBay Communities, Inc.; Avangrid Foundation; AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company; The Ball Foundation; Barclays; CarMax; Choice Hotels International; The Coca-Cola Company; Consumer Cellular; Cox Enterprises; DICK’S Sporting Goods; Duke Energy; Duke Realty; Edison International; Entergy Corporation; Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation; GE Foundation; Harbor Freight Tools Foundation, LLC; Hewlett Packard Enterprise Foundation; HP Foundation; Ingersoll Rand Foundation; John Deere Foundation; The Kraft Heinz Company Foundation; Land O’Lakes, Inc.; Mastercard; Medtronic Foundation; Neiman Marcus Group; Northrop Grumman Corporation; Northwestern Mutual and the Northwestern Mutual Foundation; Old Dominion Freight Line; The Pfizer Foundation; Prudential Financial; Rodan + Fields Prescription for Change Foundation; Ryder System, Inc.; Security Finance’s Lending Hand Foundation; Southeastern Grocers Home of BI-LO Harveys Winn Dixie; The Starbucks Foundation; Tata Consultancy Services; TD Ameritrade; U-Haul International; United Technologies Corporation; U.S. Bank; and Visa.