Houston officials dispel rumors as deadly storm persists

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey slamming Texas and dumping epic proportions of rain causing widespread flooding in the region, the need for accurate information is ever important.

But in the age of the internet, false information can spread quickly online and via social media.

CBS Houston affiliate KHOU rounded up a few rumors to steer clear of:

RUMOR: The city of Houston was checking your immigration status before allowing you into a shelter.

FACT:  The city tweeted Monday night that they are “not asking for immigration status or papers from anyone at any shelter.”

RUMOR: Mandatory evacuations are underway in the City of Houston.

FACT:  There are no evacuations in the city proper, the city’s Office of Emergency Management emphasized. Several communities in Harris County and other areas do have mandatory and voluntary evacuations.  You can find a complete list here on KHOU-TV’s website.

RUMOR: Houston’s water supply has been contaminated by flood waters.

FACT: Officials say Houston’s water supply is safe to drink, despite flooding at one of the city’s water plants.

RUMOR: The National Guard has an 800 number for you to call to get direct help.

FACT: While thousands of National Guard troops have been mobilized to assist in the flood response, the number that’s being posted on social sites is not for the guard. It is actually an insurance company. If you have a life-threatening emergency call 911.

RUMOR: Sharks were spotted swimming in the streets.

FACT: This is an old one. Social media sites post a photo claiming there is a shark … and people fall for it. The photo below is not Houston and the shark was “creatively edited” in.

However, one true story that did involve animals in the water was a pair of gators spotted in a Texas woman’s fenced-in yard during Harvey.

You can watch the incident unfold in the video below:

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Source: CBS News – United States

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