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Hawai‘i Red Cross Sends 16 for Disaster Relief

September 2, 2019, 12:00 PM HST
* Updated September 2, 4:45 PM
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The Hawai‘i chapter of the Red Cross has sent a dozen volunteers to the east coast of the United States as Hurricane Dorian threatens the country’s eastern seaboard.

Hawai‘i is no stranger to hurricanes, but a dozen volunteers have now traveled from the Pacific to the Atlantic as volunteer organizations brace for the looming impact of Hurricane Dorian, a Category 4 storm.

The total is now 16 Hawai‘i Red Cross volunteers who have been deployed to help residents in the path of Hurricane Dorian. Nine volunteers are from O‘ahu, five from the Big Island, one from Kaua‘i and one from Moloka‘i.

The volunteers are being sent to Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina and will be helping with mental health, spiritual care, sheltering, logistics, planning and staffing, according to the American Red Cross.

Millions of people who live in the area could be impacted by wind, rain, flooding and high storm surge, even if the storm doesn’t make direct landfall on the coast. As many as 60,000 people in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina may need emergency shelter, a Red Cross press release said.

The hurricane has the potential to be the strongest direct hit to Florida’s east coast since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

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The Red Cross is coordinating with community partners and emergency responders to prepare evacuation centers for people who may seek shelter over the Labor Day weekend. They are mobilizing over 1,600 trained volunteers from all over the country, 110 emergency response vehicles and over 99 tractor-trailer loads full of relief supplies to help people in the path of Hurricane Dorian, the release said.

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While the Red Cross does not typically collect and distribute blood in Florida, it has sent about 350 blood products to local blood centers there to ensure patients in need continue to have access to lifesaving blood.

“As the millions of people brace for this powerful storm, we are doing everything in our power to bring comfort and hope to everyone in Hurricane Dorian’s path,” said Coralie Chun Matayoshi, CEO of the American Red Cross Pacific Islands Region.

The Red Cross encourages all families to make a disaster plan to include an evacuation plan with two different routes of escape, a communications plan to help families reconnect after disaster and a disaster supplies kit that is readily available to aid in a quick evacuation. Go to redcross.org/hawaii.

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The Red Cross is a nonprofit humanitarian organization, which provides assistance to meet the immediate emergency needs of those affected by disasters. All Red Cross assistance to disaster victims is free. The Red Cross is not a government agency. It depends on public contributions to help others. To make a secure online donation, visit redcross.org/hawaii or call (808) 739-8109.

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