Disaster shelter need hits record highs

The vice president of the American Red Cross says more Americans are using shelters this year amid the pandemic and blood donations are desperately needed.
4:14 | 12/03/20

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Transcript for Disaster shelter need hits record highs
Natural disasters combined with a pandemic have left more Americans than usual in need of an emergency shelter should the American Red Cross says over a million times this year. People relied on the organization to sign him somewhere to sleep. That's toward times the annual average from the last eight years. Joining me now for more on this is Red Cross vice president for communications. Elizabeth Pannemon Elizabeth thanks for being here you know the men. You look at the increase is this student more natural disasters the need for more space because of social distancing why this huge demand. First of all thank you for having me on this afternoon. And just Indies is disasters are incredibly heartbreaking and they're back. Back as your when your previous and I guess just said you know there doesn't seem to be a season anymore no star has stopped just go on and on and we've seen them from the while hires outlast you should hurricanes and the sound are heartbreaking and devastating ash and we are stepping up. Her more overnight stays or people in need and on on top of the current virus pandemic it is just eight. How are you doing that how are you stepping up to accommodate his surgeon need more shelter and all the other eighty per ride. Well we're doing it in different ways we have had to adapt to this new environment and we have more people into a hotel rooms this year I'm dormitory style. Settings as well just you should avoid the congress shelters where we can't we use those as well as hotels have really been RO sue bush we've also been making sure that our volunteers are -- spy. On insuring that seeks social distancing as a place people are wearing masks. And gloves washing hands etc. but it it's very very different this year in the way that we're managing. And the Red Cross also runs blood drives across the country but this year cancellations have tripled compared to last year mostly due to the pandemic. So what kind of problem says that hosts who. Well you know emergencies don't stop and we have to supply blood every single day shall we stand at about 500 blood drives today and as you mentioned we had to cancel many of those businesses and schools close to show weak social distancing guidelines in place to make sure we have let on the shelves or those in need should. You know opening up. And new opportunities for blood donations new sites you scanners. And making sure that those bands are spaced are our temperatures are men and knowledge you know when you were chasing an emergency you're going into an emergency re no woman having a difficult pregnancy cancer treatments what is needed every single day and we're doing everything we can't make sure we have let on the shelves thousand when you look at all the challenges your organization has faced this year are there any personal stories Stanley as you come across that things you experience a sort of highlight. How this year has been compared to others. You know I am just. Always struck by the resiliency of the American people and it's often times when we go into shelters that. She you know where the winds you know we're were Welling you know were finding their ears because it in situations are supposed and I heard a story in our. And one of our shelters out west one in the wild fires and there's a little boy who was a violin player she decried in his violin teacher and they started a music and that sheltered you lift people out we're going through such an all time and should you know stories like that really are so heartening and. We're great solace anyone is willing to help. Red Cross dot org and our website you go there and there are opportunities there you should consider rolling up sleeves to donate blood or convalescent plasma if you agree Robert corona virus. Or you can also make a financial donation annie's eyes is well I'm you can also sign up to volunteer. And again Red Cross or we are great ultra support Elizabeth cannon with the Red Cross thank you so much your time and thank you for the work that you do. Thank you so much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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