How essential is blood in times of crisis—and beyond?
In June 2012, the American Red Cross blood supply hit a 15-year low with 50,000 fewer donations than expected. In the seven months to follow, Hurricane Isaac rocked the Caribbean and the northern Gulf Coast; Superstorm Sandy resulted in an estimated $65.6 billion in losses due to damage and business interruption; and eight mass shootings in the U.S. flipped the world as we know it upside down.
While the blood supply has since increased, largely because of a countrywide appeal for donations, “we’re not in great shape,” says Hanna Malak, a Red Cross donor recruitment associate. “There’s a constant need for blood.”