Red Cross declares national blood shortage following natural disasters

September 12, 2023

The American Red Cross announced Monday that the national blood supply had reached critically low levels following “back-to-back climate disasters.”

In a press release the Red Cross said that the national blood supply had dropped “nearly 25%” since early August, which is when devastating wildfires charred Maui, “potentially threatening the medical care of patients with an emergency need for blood, or those living with critical conditions such as cancer and sickle cell disease and who depend on lifesaving blood transfusions.”

Though its release does not mention Maui, the nonprofit organization pointed to “[b]ack-to-back months of worsening climate-driven disasters” for having further strained blood supplies, resulting in blood drive cancelations that reduced blood and platelet donations that are much-needed in affected areas.

Last month’s Hurricane Idalia, which touched down in Florida with a “castrophic storm surge,” caused more than 700 units of blood and platelets to go uncollected, according to the Red Cross.

The organization is currently keeping a close eye on Hurricane Lee and its potential impact on the Northeast later this week.

Nationwide, the Red Cross said that in order to to meet the needs of around 2,500 hospitals and transfusion centers, it must collect about 12,500 blood donations every day.

To make an appointment to give blood or platelets, donors can use the Red Cross Blood App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

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