The Devastating Impact of Florence
Thousands of individuals in North Carolina and South Carolina still face immediate danger as a result of the destructive river flooding caused by Hurricane Florence. The American Red Cross has been actively providing aid across 60,000 square miles in the Southeast. This response is likely to expand as flooding persists in the coming days. It is crucial to understand that the threat posed by this deadly storm is far from over.
Collaborative Relief Efforts
The Red Cross is working tirelessly with its partners to assist the tens of thousands of people affected by Florence. However, the delivery of assistance is challenging due to impassable roads in many areas. Nevertheless, in collaboration with our partners, we are doing everything possible to ensure that aid reaches those who need it the most.
To facilitate the distribution of relief supplies, the National Guard, U.S. Army, and Air National Guard have provided high water vehicles and, in some cases, helicopters. For instance, when a hospital urgently required blood, the Air National Guard conducted two flights with Blackhawk helicopters. These flights successfully transported the supplies, including food for a one-month-old baby, to an isolated shelter and the hospital.
Furthermore, military helicopters have been used to transport Red Cross volunteers to support relief efforts in the severely affected areas along the southern coast of North Carolina. The National Guard is also playing a crucial role by ensuring that relief supplies reach the areas where they are most needed. They have dispatched high water vehicles to our disaster warehouses and driven essential supplies to shelters in North and South Carolina.
This relief response is enormous, and no single group or organization can handle it alone. The Red Cross is collaborating with numerous partners, including AmeriCorps NCCC, Church of the Brethren Children’s Disaster Services, Save the Children, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, and The Salvation Army, among others.
The Ongoing Crisis
Florence has already led to the inundation of approximately 10 trillion gallons of water in North Carolina alone. Unfortunately, some rivers have yet to reach their peak and are expected to exacerbate the flooding situation over the next few weeks. Early estimates indicate that Florence has already affected approximately 88,000 homes in both North and South Carolina.
Since the beginning of this response, over 3,600 dedicated Red Cross disaster workers have been on the ground, providing shelter, food, and comfort to thousands of affected individuals. Additionally, more workers are prepared to assist in the coming weeks as the rivers gradually recede. The Red Cross has established additional shelters to accommodate the escalating flooding along multiple rivers in the region.
Relief Efforts in Action
As of Wednesday night, a total of 5,600 people sought refuge in 73 Red Cross and community shelters. Among them, approximately 5,200 individuals found shelter across 52 locations in North Carolina, while 300 individuals were accommodated in 13 shelters in South Carolina. Overall, the Red Cross and other organizations have provided over 96,000 overnight stays in emergency shelters throughout the Carolinas and Virginia, with the Red Cross contributing to 91 percent of these stays.
Through collaboration with partners, the Red Cross has served around 300,000 meals and snacks. In conjunction with the Southern Baptists, the Red Cross aims to provide approximately 100,000 meals per day, which are being prepared in multiple field kitchens.
Volunteer mental health and health services professionals have provided crucial support, conducting over 9,600 interventions to assist evacuees. Moreover, the Red Cross has distributed more than 3,400 relief items, such as diapers and comfort kits containing deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and other hygiene essentials, to those displaced from their homes. Since September 11, the Red Cross has sent over 4.7 million weather alerts through its apps, aiding people in making lifesaving decisions.
To support the relief operation, over 3,600 Red Cross disaster workers from across the country have mobilized to provide shelter, food, and support to those affected by Florence. In addition, the Red Cross has deployed over 140 emergency response vehicles and over 110 trailers of equipment and supplies.
Urgent Appeal for Blood Donations
Due to Hurricane Florence, more than 200 blood drives have been canceled this week, resulting in over 5,400 uncollected blood and platelet donations. The Red Cross urgently appeals to individuals in unaffected areas to make appointments to donate blood or platelets. These donations are crucial to care for patients not only in the Southeast but also across the entire country. Platelet and type O blood donations are currently in high demand. Make an appointment by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org, or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
How You Can Contribute
The Red Cross has initiated an extensive response to address this disaster and heavily relies on financial donations to provide immediate relief. You can help individuals affected by Hurricane Florence by visiting ProgramMatek, calling 1-800-RED CROSS, or texting the word FLORENCE to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to, and assist people in recovering from this catastrophic event. The Red Cross ensures that donor intent is honored. When donating on redcross.org or 1-800-RED CROSS, you have the option to designate your donation specifically for Hurricane Florence relief efforts.
Generous contributions from members of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) and the Disaster Responder Program significantly enhance the American Red Cross’s ability to prepare communities for both large and small-scale disasters. These contributions also enable rapid response and facilitate the recovery process for affected families.
ADGP $1 Million members include Adelson Family Foundation, American Airlines, Anheuser-Busch Foundation, Anthem Foundation, Bank of America, Brown & Brown Insurance, Caterpillar Foundation, The Clorox Company, ConocoPhillips, Costco Wholesale, Delta Air Lines, Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation, FedEx, Grainger, The Home Depot Foundation, LDS Charities, Lowe’s Companies, Inc., Mazda North American Operations, Microsoft Corp., Nationwide Foundation, New Balance Foundation and New Balance Athletics, PepsiCo Foundation, State Farm, Verizon, VSP Global, Walmart, and the Walmart Foundation, and The Walt Disney Company.
ADGP $500,000 members include 21st Century Fox, Altria Group, AmazonSmile, American Express, Aon, Capital One, CBS Corporation, Cisco Foundation, Citi Foundation, Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation, Discover, Edison International, Energy Transfer/Sunoco Foundation, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Humble Bundle, IBM Corporation, International Paper, John Deere Foundation, Johnson Controls, LabCorp, Medtronic Foundation, Meijer, Merck Foundation, Mondelēz International Foundation, Nissan, Procter & Gamble Company, PwC, Southwest Airlines, Target, Tata Consultancy Services, TD Ameritrade, The TJX Companies, Inc., United Airlines, UPS, The USAA Foundation, The Wawa Foundation, and Wells Fargo.
Members of the Disaster Responder Program include 7-Eleven Cares Foundation, Adobe, AdvoCare International L.P., Alliance Data, Assurant, AT&T, AvalonBay Communities, Inc., Avangrid Foundation, AXA Equitable Life, The Ball Foundation, Barclays, BMW of North America, Boise Paper, CarMax, Choice Hotels International, Cox Automotive, DICK’S Sporting Goods, Duke Energy, Entergy Corporation, Farmers Insurance, Harbor Freight Tools Foundation, LLC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Foundation, HP Foundation, HSBC Bank, Ingersoll Rand Foundation, The J.M. Smucker Company, Land O’Lakes, Inc., Mastercard, Morgan Stanley, Neiman Marcus Group, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Northwestern Mutual and the Northwestern Mutual Foundation, Prudential Financial, Raytheon Company, Rodan + Fields Prescription for Change Foundation, Ryder, SC Johnson, Southeastern Grocers Home of BI-LO Harveys Winn Dixie, Standard Textile, Stearns Bank, Toyota, U-Haul International, United Technologies Corporation, U.S. Bank, and Visa.