Hurricane aftermath: Thousands remain in shelter, blood donations needed

Residents returning home after Hurricane Matthew

The clean-up is underway following a weekend which saw Hurricane Matthew batter the eastern coastline. 

Even though Senator David Perdue said Georgia "dodged a major bullet," authorities confirmed the hurricane killed three people in the state. Overall, the storm claimed at least 15 lives in the United States. 

While thousands remain without power, thousands more remain without homes. 

MORE | State-by-state look at Hurricane Matthew's wrath

As of Sunday night, there were 7,000 people across the southeast in Red Cross shelters, according to Sherry Nicholson of the Atlanta Red Cross. One-third of those people were housed in Georgia, where there are 18 shelters. 

“As some people go home, some of them won’t be able to get into their homes and they are going to need another shelter situation that is a little longer term," Nicholson said. "So across that whole area we are looking at what the needs are going to be for those returning and in the days ahead we know the Georgia shelters will be a little bit more of a longer term.”

PHOTOS | Aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in Georgia

There are currently 500 volunteers from the Atlanta Red Cross headquarters being sent to impacted areas to help with the clean-up, as well as helping with mental health and other health needs. 

Blood donation will be a continued need for the next several weeks as several blood drives were canceled because of the storm. 

Donations can be made by calling 1800-Red-Cross (1800-733-2767) or texting MATTHEW to 90999 to make a $10 donation. You can see more on the organization's website

PHOTOS | Hurricane Matthew rapids destroy portion of Florida's scenic A1A

Damage assessment teams were on the scene surveying the devastation almost immediately following the storm. The Georgia National Guard activated 365 soldiers and airmen to support local efforts in facilitating security, traffic control and other storm-related needs.

On Sunday, hundreds of Georgia Power crews began working to get power restored to thousands of customers. By Monday morning the number of customers without power near or on the coastline had gone from over 200,000 to 86,000. 

“We’ve shifted quite a bit to debris removal and what we call 'elevate suffering'," said Brig. Gen. Thomas Carden with Georgia National Guard. "We are managing a number of points of distribution for really supplies like water, and food and ice in some cases.”

Due to crews having to navigate through extensive damage, including flooding and roads blocked by downed trees, the company said restoration for all customers could take days, especially in remote coastal areas. 

MORE | Georgia Power Outage Map

MORE | Current weather forecast

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