Local volunteers preparing to help residents affected by Dorian

Hurricane Dorian made landfall Sunday afternoon in the Bahamas as a Category 5 storm leaving behind catastrophic damage—from destroyed homes to contaminated water sources. While a complete picture of the damage isn’t available yet, it’s clear the storm is dealing a devastating blow to families on the islands.

Bahamas Red Cross volunteers and pre-positioned relief supplies—such as tarps, hygiene items, jerrycans, and hand-crank cell phone chargers—are at the ready.

Hurricane Dorian 2019

September 1, 2019. Orlando, Florida. Seven-year-old Deshawa hold his sister, 1-year-old Keelen, while talking with a Red Cross worker at the Evans High School evacuation center. The children’s family came to the evacuation center to escape the expected high winds and torrential rainfall associated with Hurricane Dorian. Photo credit: Daniel Cima/American Red Cross

In the U.S., the American Red Cross is preparing to help tens of thousands of people in the path of Hurricane Dorian as the extremely dangerous storm tracks towards the southeast coast. While the exact path of Dorian is still uncertain, millions of people live in areas that could be impacted by wind, rain, flooding and a high storm surge, even if the storm doesn’t make direct landfall on the coast.

The Red Cross is coordinating with community partners and emergency responders to prepare evacuation centers as planning estimates indicate as many as 60,000 people in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina may need help. Sunday night, some 2,600 people sought refuge in 60 Red Cross and community evacuation shelters in Florida. We are mobilizing over 1,600 trained volunteers from all over the country, including 14 from Northeast Ohio.

Media coverage of Red Cross volunteers preparing to deploy on Sunday was extensive

Two emergency response vehicles from the region are among the 110 vehicles being deployed, and 99 tractor-trailer loads full of relief supplies, including cots, blankets and 63,000 ready-to-eat meals are on the way.

While the Red Cross does not typically collect and distribute blood in Florida, we have sent approximately 350 blood products to local blood centers there to ensure patients in need continue to have access to lifesaving blood. The Red Cross has also pre-positioned additional blood products and stocked many of our hospitals to capacity in areas of the Southeast likely to be impacted by the storm early next week.

Louisiana Rising: A Benefit Concert for Flood Relief to air Monday, September 5

We are thrilled to share some exciting news: this coming Monday, September 5, Raycom Media will host a telethon, Louisiana Rising: A Benefit Concert for Flood Relief live from Baton Rouge’s River Center Theater between 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. (CT). The Red Cross is the sole beneficiary for the telethon, and all proceeds will support our disaster response in Louisiana.

Randy Jackson and Harry Connick, Jr. will co-host the live broadcast, which will air across Raycom Media’s 45 television stations nationwide including WOIO Channel 19 and WTOL Channel 11 here in northern Ohio.

The telethon will feature a dozen artists, including Aaron Neville, five-time Grammy nominee Hunter Hayes, as well as New Orleans-based musicians Better Than Ezra, Sonny Landreth, Chris Thomas King, MacKenzie Bourg, Luther Kent and Rockin’ Dopsie. Raycom Media’s Tupelo-Honey Raycom will produce the show, and Johnny Palazzotto, a Baton Rouge musician, will serve as music director.

The telethon is also available through livestream at redcross.org/SupportLA, where visitors can also make a donation to support our Louisiana flood relief efforts.

We are extremely grateful for the singular generosity shown by Raycom, which will help us greatly in raising funds needed in response to this devastating disaster.

To learn more about the event and the artists associated with the telethon, please visit Louisianarisingfloodrelief.com.

Thank you for supporting the efforts of the Red Cross and those Northeast Ohio volunteers who have deployed to Louisiana.