RIVERSIDE (CNS) – An Inland Empire nonprofit is seeking blood
donations to send to Hurricane-ravaged Florida, where shortages are acute due
to flooding and other impacts.

“On average, blood collection organizations nationwide had only 1-2
days’ worth supply of blood supply heading into the storm,” according to
LifeStream Blood Bank. “Anticipated disruptions in blood collections — as
well as transportation challenges — in Florida and the Southeast throughout
the next several days are likely to exacerbate already low inventories,
particularly in the affected areas.”

LifeStream, which operates blood collection sites in Hemet, La Quinta,
Murrieta, Riverside and surrounding areas, has joined the American Red
Cross and other organizations in requesting donations to help victims of
Hurricane Ian.

“LifeStream is asking all eligible blood donors to schedule an
appointment as soon as possible,” LifeStream CEO Dr. Rick Axelrod said. “We
want to have the product on hand and ready when Florida blood centers request
our help. The ongoing blood shortage makes this a challenge, as our supply is
already critically low for our local hospitals here at home. To have an
adequate supply for our local patients in Southern California and to support
our friends in Florida, we need our loyal donors to answer the call for help.”

Axelrod said there’s a critical demand for 1,000 blood cell units and
2,000 platelet units.

Information on how to make donations can be found at www.LStream.org,
or by calling 800-879-4484.

Ian slammed into southwest Florida Wednesday afternoon as a Category 4
hurricane, inflicting massive damage on beachfront communities, including
Fort Myers and Cape Coral, before plowing northward. Florida Gov. Rick DeSantis
characterized it as “one of the top five hurricanes to ever hit the Florida
peninsula.”

An estimated 2.5 million Floridians are without electricity, according
to published reports.

About 500 swift water and other rescues have been carried out in
Charlotte and Lee counties since Wednesday, state officials said. Forty elder
care facilities had to be evacuated in the face of the storm.

Estimates on casualties have not been released.

Ian was downgraded to a tropical storm by Thursday morning, but it may
regain hurricane strength as it churns over the Atlantic before making
landfall in Georgia and South Carolina Friday, according to forecasters.

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