Reportedly ‘Monstrous’ Hurricane Michael was created off the coast of Cuba on Monday and gathered strength as it steamed north toward the Florida’s Panhandle, where it was expected to strike as a major storm by Wednesday.
As the second major hurricane in just weeks is set to hit the southeast, the American Red Cross is preparing to help tens of thousands of people in the path of Hurricane Michael, even while continuing efforts in the Carolinas for families still trying to recover from Hurricane Florence.
Michael is predicted to be life-threatening, and is expected to hit parts of Florida Wednesday with strong winds, devastating flooding and storm surge as high as 12 feet in some places. The storm is still strengthening with winds already close to 110 mph. Thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate, and governors in Florida and Alabama have already declared states of emergency.
“We urge people to take this dangerous hurricane very seriously and make their final storm preparations now,” said Brad Kieserman, Vice President of Disaster Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross. “The Red Cross is working closely with state and local authorities in Florida, Alabama and Georgia to support evacuation centers for as many as 30,000 people who may need a safe place to stay during the storm.”
Evacuation centers are meant to safely house people for about 72 hours until the storm passes and weather conditions improve, and it should be noted that some of these centers may not have cots, food, running water or electricity. In time, and if needed, local government officials may transition evacuation centers into emergency shelters if residents can’t return home after the storm passes. The Red Cross supports both pre-landfall evacuation centers and post-landfall emergency shelters with trained workers, shelter supplies and other aid. Anyone coming to an evacuation center should bring items like blankets, pillows, sleeping bags, and items for children.
In advance of Hurricane Michael, the Red Cross is mobilizing trained volunteers, shelter supplies and other equipment, preparing to provide shelter for tens of thousands of people until they can return home or find other places to stay. The Red Cross is also seeking to partner with organizations that can support the temporary placement of household pets; please regularly check media to best understand where those facilities are located.
HURRICANE FLORENCE RESPONSE CONTINUES Meanwhile, more than 2,700 trained Red Cross disaster workers are on the ground in North Carolina and South Carolina, continuing to provide food, shelter and other relief services to people impacted by Hurricane Florence. On Monday night, more than 560 people were still in 12 shelters, primarily in North Carolina. To date, the Red Cross and partners have served more than 1.53 million meals and snacks, and distributed more than 300,700 relief items throughout the affected areas.
HURRICANE SAFETY STEPS
Find a shelter by visiting redcross.org or by downloading the free Red Cross Emergency App. The Emergency App also puts real-time information about the storm and hurricane safety tips at your fingertips. The app is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps. Get tips on how to prepare and stay safe at redcross.org/hurricane.
HOW YOU CAN HELP The Red Cross depends on financial donations to be able to provide disaster relief immediately. Help people affected by storms and countless other crises by visiting redcross.org, calling 1- 800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters.
PLEASE GIVE BLOOD Severe weather events like Hurricanes Florence and Michael often force the cancellation of blood drives and decrease donor turnout in affected areas. To meet the needs in these impacted areas and throughout the country, the Red Cross asks individuals to give blood. There is a critical need for blood and platelet donations right now. 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).
The Red Cross needs to collect more than 13,000 blood donations and 2,500 platelets every day to meet patient needs across the country. Blood can take up to three days to be tested, processed and make available for patients, so even a few days of disruption can impact patient care. The Red Cross encourages organizations to set up blood drives throughout the year so that blood on the shelves can help save lives in an emergency.
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: 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; PepsiCo Foundation; State Farm; Verizon; VSP Global; Walmart and the Walmart Foundation; and The Walt Disney Company.
ADGP $500,000 members are: 21st Century Fox; Altria Group; AmazonSmile; American Express; Aon; BMW of North America; 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; New Balance 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.
Disaster Responder Program members are: 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; 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; The Starbucks Foundation; Stearns Bank; Toyota; U-Haul International; United Technologies Corporation; U.S. Bank; and Visa.