Federal officials are warning people to not believe everything they see online in the wake of Hurricane Michael.
To help combat false information, FEMA has set up a Hurricane Michael rumor control website. The page lists several different rumors about Hurricane Michael and facts to correct the false information. FEMA said on Twitter the page will be updated regularly.
The first rumor on the page is that the federal government has not responded to the Panhandle and is leaving people to “fend for themselves.” FEMA says this is not true, stating that they have nearly 1,500 staff members deployed to help with Hurricane Michael relief.
“FEMA and its federal partners have been on the ground since before Hurricane Michael made landfall,” the site reads. “FEMA has provided affected states with food, water, and other supplies at points of distribution for direct pickup by survivors.”
Another rumor the agency is trying to combat is that FEMA is writing checks to survivors at points of distribution.
“FEMA is not writing checks to survivors in person at any locations,” the site says. “Points of distribution have FEMA and state provided supplies, including food and water that survivors can pick up for personal use.”
The agency also wants to clarify that it is not handing out vouchers for hotels.
“FEMA does not use vouchers for hotels. All sheltering in hotel or motels approved by FEMA is paid directly to hotels. Survivors do not receive vouchers from FEMA,” the agency says.
Another rumor that’s been circulating about vouchers claims that FEMA will issue a voucher for a place to stay for up to 90 days if homes are deemed unlivable.
FEMA clarifies that rumor, saying, “Those that apply for disaster assistance may be referred to FEMA and could be eligible for rental assistance if their home is unlivable. Rental assistance from FEMA lasts for an initial period of 90 days.”
The agency wants to remind people that they should check with official sources instead of believing what you read online.