Red Cross Seeks Blood Donations After Canceling Drives Due To Florence

Sep 20, 2018

The Red Cross uses these boxes to transport platelet donations to areas where they are needed.
Credit Alex Olgin / WFAE News

The Red Cross is asking for people to donate blood after the organization had to cancel hundreds of blood drives in the southeast because of Hurricane Florence. The organization needs constant donations to keep its supply of blood strong.  

In North Carolina, 57 blood drives have been canceled because of Florence. The Red Cross estimates that means more than 2,000 donations went uncollected, and they want to try and make up for it. Carlos Martinez was one of the donors who heeded the call. He’s originally from Houston and has seen what kind of damage these storms can do.

“I decided to come and donate blood to try and help out the folks in Wilmington, New Bern and parts of eastern South Carolina, to try to do whatever I can to help out in any way I can," Martinez said. 

The Red Cross said his blood may not go to facilities in those areas hit by the storm. It can take up to three days to be tested, process and distributed to a place where it is needed. Maya Franklin with the Red Cross said it’s important to have a full inventory of blood for disasters like Florence. 

“When we experience situations like this — when we have so many blood and platelet donations that go uncollected — we’re worried about the future," she said. "Because it’s the blood on the shelves now that helps in an emergency.”

State officials are working to get nurses, doctors and social workers into areas hardest hit by the storm. These medical professionals can be sent to shelters to provide care, backfill jobs of local healthcare workers who can’t get to work because of flooded roads and help connect evacuees with government services.