Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Hurricane Irene and subsequent severe storms throughout the Northeast have caused major flooding, forcing the cancellation of 142 American Red Cross blood drives, resulting in a shortfall of more than 4,700 units of blood to date and affecting the ability of volunteer blood donors to travel to drives to give blood.

These numbers could rise in the days ahead as residents in affected areas deal with power outages, road closures and cleanup. Many parts of New York State have been dramatically affected by the flooding, resulting in the loss of over 640 units of blood since Thursday in the Northeastern Pennsylvania Region alone. For those areas not heavily impacted, the Red Cross is urging immediate blood and platelet donations. Community members in affected areas are asked to consider donating blood once it is safe to do so. Blood has a limited shelf life and platelets have a shelf-life of just five days.

“The recent extreme weather has severely impacted our ability to build blood inventories up to sufficient levels,” stated Donna M. Morrissey, Director of Communications, American Red Cross – Northeast Division. “If people make an appointment to donate blood in the upcoming days and weeks ahead, blood will continue to be available in spite of conditions currently prohibiting many donors in storm ravaged areas from traveling or coming to blood drives.”  

The Red Cross is still working to stabilize the blood supply following the challenging summer season, and the damage caused by Hurricane Irene. The ensuing heavy rains may continue to cause difficulties in scheduling blood drives for some time. When disaster strikes, the need for blood does not diminish, even though blood donors may find it difficult or impossible to get to a convenient donation opportunity. If collections are negatively impacted by a disaster, the long-term needs of these patients could also be affected.

“Despite the fact that flood waters were encroaching on their homes and those of their friends and family, Red Cross workers were there providing food, shelter, and blood products for people in need,” remarked Tony Ferlenda, CEO, American Red Cross Blood Services Northeastern Pennsylvania Region. “These selfless acts of humanitarianism exemplify the spirit of the Red Cross, and blood donors show this same spirit each time they donate blood.”

Across the country, Red Cross blood centers are struggling to keep pace with demand.  Nationwide, around 44,000 blood donations are needed each and every day to meet the needs of accident victims, cancer patients, and children with blood disorders. These patients and others rely on blood products during their treatment. 

To schedule an appointment to donate blood or platelets, please visit us online at redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS.

- On Thursday we were able to deliver nearly all of our hospital orders. We actually sent blood to Geisinger in Danville via helicopter.

- All of our blood drives scheduled for Thursday were canceled. On Friday all but two ran, however those that did had low turn out.

- On Friday, the National Guard assisted us in transporting blood to local hospitals.

- The 640 units mentioned in the press release only takes into account the number of units based on blood drive closures, it does not include the number of units short based on low turnout. (Please note: 1 donation could help up to 3 people.)


Post a Comment

<< Home