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Island Volunteers Head to Florida in Anticipation of Hurricane

October 5, 2016, 9:24 AM HST
* Updated October 5, 9:26 AM
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Hurricane Matthew made landfall on the coast of Haiti on Tuesday morning, Oct. 4, with 145 mph winds. It made its second landfall just over 12 hours later in eastern Cuba on Tuesday night. Matthew could move very close to the East Coast of Florida later this week, as well as Georgia and the Carolinas. National Hurricane Center image.

Hurricane Matthew made landfall on the coast of Haiti on Tuesday morning, Oct. 4, with 145 mph winds. It made its second landfall just over 12 hours later in eastern Cuba on Tuesday night. Matthew could move very close to the East Coast of Florida later this week, as well as Georgia and the Carolinas. National Hurricane Center image.

The American Red Cross is preparing for the most powerful hurricane in the Atlantic to reach the US since Hurricane Felix in 2007.

Hurricane Matthew has the potential to impact multiple states, threaten millions and potentially force thousands to seek emergency shelter.

Two Hawai‘i Island Red Cross volunteers are immediately deploying to Florida pre-landfall.

Cathy Lewis will assist with staff services and Marty Moran has been assigned to safety services,

Maui volunteer Patricia Tracy will assist with sheltering.

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In addition to the Hurricane Matthew response, O‘ahu volunteer Renise Bayne will deploy to Louisiana for the second time as a client casework manager for Red Cross’ continuing flood relief effort there.

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Caribbean Response Efforts Underway

In Haiti, high winds, heavy rains and a strong storm surge blasted the southern coast early Tuesday morning. After the storm passes, the American Red Cross team in Haiti will begin conducting needs and damage assessments in preparation for delivering prepositioned response stocks in partnership with the Haitian Red Cross.

In addition, the Haitian Red Cross has more than 3,000 volunteers and staff working to help impacted communities with health, sanitation and emergency response. Emergency supply kits have been prepared and shipped out to warehouses in affected areas, including cholera prevention kits, hygiene kits, and kitchen sets. Community Intervention Teams  made up of volunteers trained in search and rescue and first-aid have been mobilized and equipped.

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Throughout the Caribbean, Red Cross teams have been readied to assist more countries in Matthew’s path, including Jamaica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas. The IFRC regional office in Panama is closely monitoring the storm and actively adjusting response plans as the storm’s path evolves. The IFRC is planning to deploy disaster professionals and assessment teams to the areas that are most severely affected—and the American Red Cross is supporting where it can.

U.S. Military Families Evacuate from Guantanamo Bay

More than 700 U.S. Military personnel, spouses and children from Naval Station Guantanamo Bay are seeking shelter at Naval Air Station Pensacola after being evacuated on Sunday. As of Tuesday morning, the Red Cross has distributed 1,000 meals and snacks, as well as comfort kits and diapers, and provided nearly 50 cots. Remaining military personnel in Cuba are being provided disaster preparedness support by the Red Cross in conjunction with the US Military.

East Coast Bracing for Multistate Impact

Hurricane Matthew could affect the US later this week, and the American Red Cross is getting ready now for a potential multistate response. From Florida to New England, the Red Cross is finalizing shelter plans and preparing vehicles and supplies. Trained Red Cross disaster relief workers are being mobilized across multiple states.

The Red Cross is urging people in the potential path of Hurricane Matthew to stay informed about the storm and take steps to get prepared now. The Red Cross recommends taking these three steps: 1) build a disaster kit; 2) come up with an emergency plan; and 3) be informed about how local authorities will notify you during a disaster, whether through local media or NOAA Weather Radio stations or channels. Stay informed by downloading the free Red Cross Emergency App which puts real time information and hurricane safety tips as your fingertips. The Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross, texting GETEMERGENCY to 90999 or going to redcross.org/apps.

HOW TO HELP The work of the American Red Cross starts long before a hurricane makes landfall in the US. For example, we have warehouses stocked with disaster relief supplies, thousands of trained workers, and more than 320 mobile response vehicles on standby year-round to be ready to help people in need. If we didn’t maintain these resources 24/7, we couldn’t get help to people in a timely fashion—but we depend on donations from the American public to be ready.

Help people affected by disasters like hurricanes, floods and countless other crises by making a donation to the Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small across the US.

Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

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