With all of the unbelievable images and stories coming out of Houston during Tropical Storm Harvey, it’s easy to believe just about anything you see or hear. But as with any big news event, there are plenty of hoaxes out there. The Houston Chroniclehas taken the time to debunk some of the biggest ones.
That image of a shark swimming on a Houston freeway is Photoshopped.
No, immigration officials are not asking for ID for you to get into a shelter.
The water has not been shut off in Houston or nearby Katy, Texas, and is still 100 percent safe to drink.
A message is going around saying, “The National Guard is being deployed to our Texas area. If you find yourself in a state of emergency, call 1-800-527-3907.” But that number isn’t for the National Guard — it’s to a private insurance company in another state.
Lots of scam artists will pop up in the aftermath of this storm. If it sounds too good — or too easy — to be true, it probably is. Just ask Sandy victims.
Apparently that shark photo has gone around in previous floods in Houston.
Fortunately, communications infrastructure is still in good shape. Rumors can be dangerous when people have no way to see if they’re true.
1. A family is seen trying to escape the wrath of Hurricane Katrina in the days it wreaked havoc in New Orleans.
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2. Over 30,000 were left without their homes and possessions because of the hurricane.
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3. The National Guard and UNICEF arrived in New Orleans days after the storm arrived in its worst hit area, the Lower Ninth Ward. In the nation’s history, this was the first time UNICEF was called to provide aid in the United States.
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4. Approximately 1,833 deaths were reported in the wake of the hurricane, but with no real memorial or list of the victims, many believe the number is much higher.
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5. Former President George Bush was slammed for his delay in providing relief to the city, leading to an outburst from Kanye West, who stated the president did not care about Black people during a live telethon.
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6. For a week, 30,000 people took shelter in the Superdome, where they were given food and water. With limited medical help, reports claimed 100 people died, when only four died from exhaustion, another from an overdose, and one from an apparent suicide.
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7. Many believed the delay in assistance stemmed from race and class in New Orleans. With the city’s poorest areas hit the worst, conspiracy theories soon followed.
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8. When the levees broke on Aug. 29, flooding hit Canal St. The same day, the storm’s hardest winds of 150 miles an hour (240 kilometers an hour) hit the city.
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9. More than a million housing units were destroyed during the storm. Half of them were from Louisiana.
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10. Because of the storm, half of the city’s population dropped from 484,674 in April 2000 to 230,172 in July 2006.
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11. The difference in flooding was shocking to residents. While tourist areas were left undamaged, some places received one foot of flooding and others up to 10 feet of flooding.
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12. The majority of relief funds sent to New Orleans by George Bush ($120.5 billion) went to emergency relief ($75 billion), not rebuilding.
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13. Private insurance companies provided a total of $30 billion to residents, a lot less than federal aid provided.
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14. A reported 600,000 households were still displaced a month after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.
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15. In the four days after the levees broke, 140 premature babies were brought to the Woman’s Hospital in New Orleans.
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16. Midwives helped deliver 20 healthy babies in the storm’s aftermath.
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17. While the city lost most of its residents after they were forced to relocate, a slight growth was seen in the city. In 2013, the Census Bureau reported a 2 percent growth (8,827 people) in the metro city area.
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18. The poverty rate in New Orleans hasn’t changed since the storm. While it decreased from 18 percent in 1999 to 15 percent in 2007, it increased again in 2012.
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19. 11,494 fewer Whites live in New Orleans due to the storm, but the biggest loss was the African-American community, with 99,650 less. The numbers were not only from the storm, but encompass between 2000 and 2013.
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20. From the Salvation Army: “@salvationarmyus continues to be a source of hope, stability, and service to the residents of the Gulf Coast 10 years after #hurricanekatrina. #doingthemostgood”
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21. From photographer Paul Conrad: “Father Jim O’Bryan of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Pearlington, Miss., gives his sermon Sunday morning October 2, 2005, one month after #hurricanekatrina . The church lifted off its foundation and floated to the middle of the road during the storm surge from Katrina. Work crews destroyed the remainder of the church when they cleared route 607 of debris.”
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Continue reading TROPICAL STORM HARVEY: Don’t Fall for These Hoaxes