How Disasters Affect the Blood Supply and What You Can Do to Help

Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael slammed the Southeast with catastrophic storm surges and damaging winds, impacting countless lives. For those who are looking to help in unaffected areas, donors are urged to make an appointment now to give blood to help maintain the nation’s blood supply.

Disasters like hurricanes often force the cancellation of many blood drives across a large geographic area, causing hundreds to thousands of units of blood to go uncollected. In fact, this fall, Hurricane Michael and Hurricane Florence have forced the cancellation of about 250 blood drives, causing nearly 7,500 units of blood and platelets to go uncollected in the Southeast.

Low donor turnout also occurs in these affected areas as communities recover from storm damage. Power outages, residual floodwaters, and other infrastructure challenges can hamper the ability of community organizations to host blood drives and individuals to attend blood drives.

Red Cross: How Disasters Affect the Blood Supply and What You Can Do to Help

18-year-old Amanda Guzman is all smiles knowing that her donation makes a difference.

Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. It is essential for surgeries, cancer treatment, chronic illnesses, and traumatic injuries. Whether a patient receives whole blood, red cells, platelets, or plasma, this lifesaving care starts with one person making a generous donation.

The Red Cross provides about 40 percent of our nation’s blood and blood components, all from generous volunteer donors. But supply can’t always meet demand because only about 10 percent of eligible people donate blood yearly. Each new donor helps us meet patient needs.

If you’ve asked what you can do to help, here’s your answer: donate blood. Each blood donor and every blood drive matters for patients who are depending on these lifesaving donations.

Please Give Now

Eligible blood donors are urged to schedule a donation today by using the Red Cross Blood Donor app, visiting redcrossblood.org, or calling 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767).