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Hurricane Florence Rumor Control

Rumor: FEMA will “buy out” my property that was damaged by Hurricane Florence.


Fact: No, FEMA does not buy properties. Several months after a disaster, certain competitive grant funding is made available through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program that allows local and state governments to pursue projects that make communities better able to withstand future disasters. Property acquisitions are eligible projects under this program but it’s a process that takes years if a local government chooses such a project. This is not currently an option following Hurricane Florence.

Rumor: FEMA is stopping home loans from closing.

Fact: A 90-day foreclosure moratorium is available for FHA insured home loans after a Presidentially Declared Disaster. For information call: 1-800-225-5342.

Rumor: Renters can't apply for FEMA assistance

Fact: Renters can apply for FEMA assistance. Please ask them to visit, or call 800-621-3362 (voice, 711 or VRS) or 800-462-7585 (TTY), or go in to a Disaster Recovery Center:

Rumor: If your power has been out for more than 2 hours you can get emergency food stamps. Everyone in the household older than 18 qualifies.

Fact: FEMA does not provide food stamps. For information on eligibility and how you can apply for supplemental nutrition assistance, please visit: South Carolina Department of Social Services or North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

Rumor: Home Inspectors Ask Applicants for their Registration Number or Money.

Fact: FEMA inspectors will never ask you for the unique nine digit registration number you were assigned when you applied; they will have it on file. Ask the inspector to confirm your registration number if you're suspicious of your home inspector. Also, FEMA inspectors will never ask you for money.

Rumor: Residents in disaster-designated areas should remove debris from trash bags that are placed on the right-of-way. 

Fact: FEMA does not require debris to be removed from trash bags. Residents should check with their local emergency management agencies for specific debris guidance for their communities. Vist: North Carolina County Emergency Management Agencies

Rumor: The Brunswick nuclear power plant is in danger due to nearby flooding.

Fact: Both reactors at Brunswick are safe and stable. They both have power from the grid and their safety systems are working normally. Plant operators declared an unusual event, the lowest NRC emergency classification, due to flood waters and storm damage limiting access to the site by personal vehicles.

Rumor: There are reports that residents in the Carolinas are being told they can buy a flood insurance policy now, and that it will cover the flood water damage caused by Hurricane Florence.

Fact: It typically takes 30 days from the date an NFIP policy is purchased for it to go into effect. Learn more about the waiting period, why you should have flood insurance, and how to buy it.

Rumor: There are reports that all emergency shelters and hotels are required to accommodate pets for people who have evacuated.

Fact: Service animals are not pets. The Americans with Disabilities Act generally requires hotels and evacuation shelters to accommodate service animals.
Private businesses, such as hotels, are not required to accept pets. Not all shelters accept pets. Check local media, or contact your local emergency management agency for shelters that do allow pets.
Pet-friendly shelters may have requirements and restrictions for pets. Check their requirements before arriving at the site.
Check out for more tips on evacuating with your pet.

Rumor: Service animals are not allowed in shelters.

Fact: All service animals are allowed in shelters. Service animals are not pets. Service animals, which are individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability, are authorized to relocate to survivor shelters per the “Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.”  

Rumor: Nearly $10M was diverted from FEMA’s hurricane relief fund to U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Fact:Funding was diverted from FEMA’s operational budgets for travel, training, public engagement and information technology.  The amount diverted is less than 1 percent of FEMA’s annual operating budget.

Rumor: EPA does not have budget to respond to natural disasters

Fact: EPA does have the budget and the staff to respond to natural disasters. The budget increased over the last two fiscal years by $5 million.

Rumor: FEMA does not have enough commodities on the ground in preparation for Hurricane Florence.

Fact:The private sector is the first source for goods in the potentially affected areas. When their supply chain is disrupted, or stores are unable to open, then state, local and voluntary agencies will provide needed supplies.  FEMA, working in coordination with those officials, will augment state and local resources as needed and requested.

At all times, FEMA maintains commodities, including millions of liters of water, millions of meals and hundreds of thousands of blankets, strategically located at distribution centers throughout the United States and its territories.

FEMA is forward staging meals, water, cots, blankets and other resources at Incident Support Bases in the Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia, and West Virginia to supplement the needs following Hurricane Florence.  The quantity of supplies on hand will fluctuate as supplies are continuously moving.

Rumor: There are rumors that FEMA has a role in enforcing Evacuation orders. 

Fact: FEMA does not have authority to issue or enforce evacuation orders. Only local and state public safety and emergency management officials have authority for issuing and enforcing voluntary and mandatory evacuations

Rumor: There are reports that beach sand should be used if sand bag distribution sites are out of sand.

Fact: Local emergency management in coastal areas is warning residents not to use beach sand for sandbagging. Residents should NOT be heading toward the beach. Also, sand at the beach is a vital barrier, acting as the first line of defense against the storm.

Last Updated: 
10/19/2018 - 08:05