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FEMA Website Debunks Hurricane Irma Rumors

FEMA Website Debunks Hurricane Irma Rumors
(Screengrab/FEMA)

By    |   Monday, 11 September 2017 12:02 PM

A FEMA website is debunking Hurricane Irma rumors while everyone affected by the storm tries to sort fact from fiction in onrushing news and social media reports.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency website Hurricane Irma Rumor Control categorizes areas of questions about shelters, evacuations, immigration status, handling of pets, fuel availability, post-storm cleanup, and scams, and FEMA's re-entry policy.

The website isn’t a new initiative for FEMA. It posted its first digital rumor control website during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Will Booher, the agency's spokesman, told CNN. Booher said the site helps flag rumors that start to circulate on the internet.

"Always verify the information you are seeing online," Booher told CNN.

FEMA shared the site on Twitter last week.

The website comes on the heels of false reports on Irma that went viral, including videos of reported Hurricane Irma damage the Caribbean that received millions of views but were actually from past storms, CNN reported.

One report said Irma would develop into a Category 6 hurricane, when there is no such designation.

"U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have stated that they are not conducting immigration enforcement at relief sites such as shelters or food banks," the FEMA website said, tackling one rumor about shelters and immigration status.

"In the rare instance where local law enforcement informs ICE of a serious criminal alien at a relief site that presents a public safety threat, ICE will make a determination on a case-by-case basis about the appropriate enforcement actions," the site said.

The website also debunked a report that hotels had to accommodate pets for people who have evacuated.

"Congress passed the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act to ensure that emergency operations rescue, care, shelter, and meet the essential needs of household pets and service animals. Hotels and motels participating do not fall under the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards (PETS) Act.”

The website also offers advice to how to spot suspected criminal using repair scams.

"There may be reports of FEMA inspectors asking for personal information or charging for services such as damage inspections or contractor repairs," the website said. “This is a scam. Scam artists may pose as government officials, aid workers, charitable organizations, or insurance company employees."

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A FEMA website is debunking Hurricane Irma rumors while everyone affected by the storm tries to sort fact from fiction in onrushing news and social media reports.
fema, website, debunks, hurricane irma, rumors
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2017-02-11
Monday, 11 September 2017 12:02 PM
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