Hurricane Maria has strengthened into a category 4 storm as it heads toward the already badly-damaged Caribbean islands. If you look at islands from Space after Hurricane Irma, the pictures show the islands literally changing color – at least that’s what several viral posts on social media are showing.
So, it is real or fake? KELOLAND News Investigates.
Check out the photos above. They show Barbuda on August 27 before Hurricane Irma made landfall and September 12. Posts like these showing the browning of Caribbean islands are actually real.
These images were captured by LandSat 8, a satellite that is monitored right here in KELOLAND at the Earth Resources Observation and Science or EROS Center, just outside of Sioux Falls.
Scientists believe the hurricane’s strong winds ripped away tropical vegetation and salt spray coated and likely destroyed leaves still on trees.
Another thing KELOLAND Investigates looked into, a video from the Hurricane Harvey recovery effort making waves on social media.
The woman who posted this video, Wendy Wilkerson Underwood, says in her now-viral Facebook video shows that the Red Cross is throwing away supplies in Houston.
“We saw the video and what we saw in the video is outside Red Cross protocol, outside of what we’re seeing and experiencing out of Texas. So we, right now have over 100 volunteers from North and South Dakota who are serving and it doesn’t match up with what we’re hearing,” Jennifer Ross, American Red Cross eastern south Dakota executive director said.
The Red Cross denies what’s happening in the video and says it can’t even verify where it was recorded and there is no evidence to support it. The national organization took to its Facebook page to try and dispel rumors. Officials have also tried to reach out to Wilkerson to verify what was happening.
“The Red Cross locally in Texas and our National headquarters in D.C. reached out to the individual who posted this video. Actually numerous times and she’s not responded,” Ross said.
This video appears to be fake. The American Red Cross believes the video was shot more than 200 miles from Houston, in Waco, TX.
While the stories from Harvey and Irma aren’t in the news every day, the needs of victims haven’t gone away. You can donate to the American Red Cross to support their mission.
So where will your money be going?
“The Red Cross sends 91 cents of every dollar directly to our mission and programs. We keep very low overhead so that the dollars that come in are serving the people intended to serve. And if you designate those dollars for hurricane Irma or Harvey, that’s where those dollars are going.”