CAMP HILL, Pa. In the wake of evacuations forced by Hurricane Gustav through Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, Rite Aid on Tuesday reopened 32 of 50 stores temporarily closed and is in the process of opening the other locations impacted by the evacuations as quickly as possible and made a $75,000 donation to the American Red Cross to support that relief agency’s mobilization of some 4,000 disaster relief workers to the region and the some 500 shelters the Red Cross opened to help shelter evacuees.
“Our hearts go out to the victims, families and communities affected by Hurricane Gustav,” stated Mary Sammons, Rite Aid chairman, president and chief executive officer. “I am also very appreciative of all our pharmacists and other associates that have worked so hard to keep our stores open and will be reopening stores as soon as that can be done safely,” she said. “We are hoping that our donation to The American Red Cross can help make it just a little easier for those who have been impacted the most.”
Of those reopenings, four stores in Mississippi are still operating without a pharmacy as of late Tuesday evening, Rite Aid reported.
In anticipation of the storm, Rite Aid had positioned truck loads with extra supplies just outside affected areas, including extra generators and the diesel fuel to run them so that stores operating in areas without power can get back online. Rite Aid also has on hand hundreds of Rite Aid associates from other regions, including pharmacists, who are on standby to assist with the expected demand.
Assessments will be made for mobile units and additional storefronts that may be used when the full effect of the storm is known, the company stated.
The company is also preparing for similar evacuations this weekend along the Southeastern United States should Tropical Storm Hanna, currently off the coast of Cuba, regain hurricane strength. The storm is presently projected to make landfall along the South Carolina coast Saturday morning, though that projection is still fairly uncertain.
Hanna will be closely followed by Tropical Storm Ike, which is expected to reach hurricane strength by Wednesday evening. Ike is expected to be in the area of the Bahamas by Sunday evening.