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Hurricane Harvey

FEMA’s Hurricane Harvey Rumor Control

There is a lot of misinformation circulating online and because rumors spread fast please stay informed.

The disaster of Harvey has created an influx of misinformation, rumors, and scams.

FEMA has created a list of rumors, debunking them and calling out scams.

Below is a list of a few of the debunked rumors.




There are rumors that the fuel shortages in Texas are due to either FEMA blocking sales or fuel being committed elsewhere. This is FALSE. (September 1)

  • Gasoline Stations – Fuel Shortages
    • It is true that there are some fuel shortages in Texas due to the impact of Hurricane Harvey. Gasoline retailers obtain gasoline supplies based upon the nature of their relationship with their suppliers. There are three primary fuel supply arrangements: 1) major oil company owned and operated, 2) branded independent retailer who sign a supply contract with a major oil company and 3) an unbranded independent retailer (who purchases gasoline from the open market). With tight supplies in the region, gas stations that do not have a supply contract will have fuel shortages. Supply contracts will be met first before gasoline is placed in the open market. Sporadic increases in demand will increase consumption and continue to aggravate local distribution challenges.
  • Colonial Pipeline Operations
    • Colonial Pipeline east of Lake Charles, LA is operating intermittently when refinery and terminal product is available to fill the line. The portion of the pipeline between Houston and Hebert remains down and Colonial is estimating returning this portion of the line to service this Sunday. The lack of fuel is caused by a combination of factors including: refinery damage and shutdowns, damage to fuel terminals and the closure of crude oil ports in the region
  • Strategic Petroleum Reserve
    • In response, the Department of Energy (DOE) authorized the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to negotiate and execute emergency exchange agreements authorizing a total of up to 4 million barrels of sweet crude oil and up to 300,000 barrels of sour crude oil to be drawn down from SPR's West Hackberry and Bayou Choctaw sites. In addition, DOE and EPA have issued waivers to Colonial which will allow it to accept more product into its pipeline. DOE is continuing to monitor the situation, and is prepared to take additional steps to ease fuel shortages. More information about DOE's response can be found in its Hurricane Harvey Situation Reports.



There are reports individuals must file a flood insurance claim before Friday, September 1 because a new Texas law goes into effect that day and all claims filed after Sept. 1 would be negatively impacted. This is FALSE. (August 30)

  • Texas State "House Bill 1774," passed by the 85th Texas Legislature, does not affect flood insurance policies or claims. Flood insurance is provided through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which was created by Congress through the passage of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968. The NFIP is a federal program subject to federal law, so this new Texas state law will have no impact on NFIP policyholders.
  • For information on how this legislation will impact other types of insurance claims in Texas, please reach out to the Texas State Insurance Commissioner's office.
  • NFIP flood insurance policyholders with flood damage should file their insurance claims as soon as possible to begin their recovery process, but there is no benefit or penalty in filing before or after September 1, 2017. Learn more about how to file your flood insurance claim.



There are rumors undocumented immigrants cannot go to a shelter because they will be reported to ICE or CBP. This is False.(August 27)

  • 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. 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. More information is available at U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) joint statement. The Federal Government strongly encourages all persons to follow the guidance of local officials and seek shelter regardless of their immigration status.
  • Most shelters are managed by local communities, the Red Cross, and other voluntary agencies. American Red Cross' humanitarian mission is to feed, shelter, and provide other forms of support without regard to race, religion, or citizenship status. The Red Cross will not ask people to show any form of identification in order to stay in their shelters. In order to receive some Red Cross services, such as meeting with a caseworker to facilitate disaster recovery, they will need to verify a person's pre-disaster address. For people who don't have government-issued identification, the Red Cross can usually do this through alternative means, such as a copy of a utility bill.


For a complete list of rumors visit FEMA’s Hurricane Harvey Rumor Control page.

They will update constantly as new rumors and scams are reported

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