A regional network of blood donation centers is urging people to give blood to help meet demand nationwide amid Tropical Storm Harvey, which has forced many blood banks in Texas to close and led to the cancellation of blood drives.
Bloodsource, which collects blood donations throughout Northern and Central California, said in a press release Monday that blood donors are needed around the country “as soon as possible.” Bloodsource shares its resources with places in need nationwide during disasters such as Harvey, which began as a category 4 hurricane, pushing tens of thousands of people into shelters over the weekend and killing at least five amid Texas flooding.
“With more sustained rain forecasted, these cancellations and closures (of blood drives and blood centers) are likely to rise,” the nonprofit stated. “BloodSource needs the community’s help to ensure a safe and adequate supply not only for our community but for the communities impacted by this massive storm.”
A U.S. task force that works to maintain blood supplies during disasters and after acts of terrorism also called on Sunday for increased blood donations across the U.S.
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Type O blood is most needed at the moment, according to Bloodsource and other donation centers. O positive is the most common blood type, and people with O negative blood are often called “universal donors” because their donations can be given safely to almost any person, regardless of blood type. However, Bloodsource and other organizations emphasize that all kinds of blood are helpful.
“The need for blood is constant and the American Red Cross currently has an urgent need for blood donations across the country due to a summer decline in blood donors and blood drive sponsors,” said Christine Welch, a spokeswoman for the American Red Cross in Northern California.