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Old images wrongly linked to 2023 earthquake in Pakistan

Imges of collapsed buildings went viral with false claim

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Claim: Different images on social media show damaged houses that collapsed after a sizable earthquake hit a number of countries, including Pakistan, on 21 March 2023.

Fact: The claim is, in fact, false as the images are not from the recent earthquake but are from the 2019 earthquake in Azad Kashmir in Pakistan.

On the night of 21 March 2023, a powerful 6.5 magnitude earthquake jolted Afghanistan and Pakistan, with tremors felt as far as the Indian capital New Delhi.

In Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, at least nine people were killed and 44 injured, and 19 houses were partially damaged during the earthquake, as reported by the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), KP.

In this context, a Facebook user posted multiple images on 21 March, showing buildings rubble and damaged houses. The Urdu language caption translated into English reads, “Swat: Two people died and 120 people were injured due to the earthquake. Rescuers shifted the injured to Syed Hospital. Sources Reports of extensive damage are coming from Swat Madin Bahrain, Deir Swabi, and other areas. May Allah bless you.” 

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check ascertained through reverse image search tools that all the pictures were old and not taken during the recent earthquake in Pakistan.

The image of a man standing in a blue dress near the rubble of a collapsed building is from the 24 September 2019 earthquake in the Mirpur area of Azad Kashmir in Pakistan.

The pictures were published by The Guardian on 25 September 2019. The first image caption read, “A Pakistani man stands beside a collapsed building following an earthquake on the outskirts of Mirpur. Photograph: Aamir Qureshi/AFP/Getty Images. 

Screenshot from The Guardian 2019 article

The Guardian also posted the other two images in the same article. These photos were also published by the stock photography website Getty Images and Al-Jazeera on 25 September 2019.

Screenshot of Getty Image’s 2019 photograph with details

Virality

Soch Fact Check found that the same images were shared on Facebook within hours of the earthquake. The archived versions can be seen here, here, here, here, here and here.

On Twitter, the images received here, here, and here.

Conclusion: Pictures from the 2019 earthquake in Kashmir are being shared as new images from the March 2023 quake.

 

 

 

Background Image: Reuters

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