New Jersey Red Cross has 12 disaster workers helping with relief efforts in the Southeast

PRINCETON, NJ — As Hurricane Matthew continued its path of destruction up the southeast coast, the American Red Cross expanded its massive sheltering effort to span five states. More than 13,400 people in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Virginia woke up Sunday morning in 248 Red Cross and community evacuation shelters.

“Matthew isn’t done with us yet. In North Carolina, the storm is causing deadly flooding and we have safe shelters open where conditions permit,” said Brad Kieserman, vice president, Disaster Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross. “Our first priority is keeping people safe. We anticipate flooding may continue for days in the Carolinas and we are working with the entire response community to make everyone safely gets the help they need.”

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RED CROSS RESPONSE

North Carolina is facing power outages and record-breaking flooding. Overnight there were 80 Red Cross and community evacuation shelters open with more than 4,000 people. In South Carolina, 61 evacuation shelters were open overnight with more than 4,500 people. In Florida, many people have returned home but overnight there were 72 shelters open with more than 340 people seeking refuge. Evacuation shelters are transitioning to disaster shelters for people who can’t return home and kitchens are operating today to provide meals for those affected. In Georgia, 34 evacuation shelters were open with more than 4,500 people. As the storm moved north into Virginia, there were 25 people in a shelter overnight.

A total of more than 2,700 Red Cross disaster workers are supporting relief efforts. The Red Cross has also mobilized 133 response vehicles, 3 kitchens and 97 trailers filled with water, ready-to-eat meals, shelter and kitchen supplies, cleaning supplies and comfort kits, insect repellant, gloves, masks, shovels, rakes, coolers and more. 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.

Twelve New Jersey Red Cross disaster workers are currently in the Southeast helping with the operation. Sam Friedlander of Montclair, Paul and Louella Rose of Pleasantville, Kathy Wong of Florham Park, Elisa Thomas Donnelly of Teaneck, Radhika Kasu of New Milford, Ricardo Medrano of Union City, Mary Sterling of Freehold, Joan Klimpl of Somerset and Jim Eden of Margate City are working at shelters and Avinash Kachhy of Edison is helping with Disaster Services technology. Additional Red Cross workers from New Jersey are expected to travel to the affected region in the coming days.

“Red Cross workers from New Jersey and across the country continue to help those affected by Hurricane Matthew,” said Ana Montero, regional CEO, American Red Cross New Jersey Region. “We are asking those who wish to help to please donate blood and consider making a financial donation to the Red Cross today to support the people affected by this disaster.”

MAKE A DONATION

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. Learn more about the Red Cross response to Hurricane Matthew here.

HUNDREDS OF BLOOD, PLATELET DONATIONS GO UNCOLLECTED

As flooding from Hurricane Matthew inundates the Carolinas, the storm continues to impact the nation’s blood supply. So far, Hurricane Matthew has forced the cancellation of approximately 40 Red Cross blood drives in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia resulting in more than 1,500 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected. More cancellations are likely along the Southeast coast of the U.S. as floodwaters ravage many areas.

The need for platelets is especially critical due to the loss of these donations in affected areas. 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.

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, visitingredcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

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.

About the American Red Cross in New Jersey 
The American Red Cross provides programs and services to a population of 8.8 million in New Jersey. The Red Cross trains and mobilizes more than 5,800 volunteers who support the delivery of services throughout the state. In New Jersey last year, the Red Cross responded to 889 local disasters, mostly home fires, helping 1,820 displaced families; collected 88,439 units of blood through blood drives and Red Cross Blood Donation Centers; provided 3,920 military family case services with emergency messages, helping families find assistance and/or get counseling and referrals; and trained 117,088 individuals with life-saving skills in preparedness, CPR, AED use, first aid and aquatics. For more information, please visit redcross.org/NJ or visit us on Twitter @NJRedCross.