Viral picture of man salvaging belongings is not from 2022 floods

Picture is from Karachi and was taken in 2011

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Claim: A photo shows a man salvaging his belongings from his home flooded by rainwater during the 2022 floods in Pakistan.

Fact: The image is actually from the 2011 floods in Sindh and shows a man retrieving his belongings from his flooded home in Karachi, Pakistan. Photographer Fareed Khan took the picture on 13 September 2011.

On 26 August 2022, Instagram page @islamic_knowledg posted a picture of a man walking through neck-high water that had flooded his home, carrying kitchen utensils that he could salvage, following the torrential rainfall in Pakistan in 2022.

The image’s caption, written poetically, states that people will tell future generations about the floods in Pakistan in 2022. It says lives were lost to the land and bodies buried without funerals; that rulers were fighting over the top job and ignoring citizens. The caption also mentions that thousands of years later, historians will not be able to control their tears while narrating the destruction the country experienced in 2022.

This summer, Pakistan was hit by catastrophic flooding, which has rendered millions homeless and destroyed entire villages. The disaster, which many say is due to climate change and bad government policies, has left a third of the South Asian nation submerged.

Soch Fact Check has previously investigated other misleading and false images going viral on social media, such as this picture of a child carrying a dog in a steel bowl, this video claiming to show giant waves destroying an apartment in Karachi, and this image of two men atop a destroyed house.

Fact or Fiction?

We used TinEye Reverse Image Search to figure out the source of the image. We came across a Russian news blog, Love Opium, which carried an article titled, “Крупнейшее наводнение в Пакистане [Worst flood in Pakistan].” The report includes a series of pictures from the 2011 floods in Pakistan, primarily in Sindh, and the photograph in question was accompanied by the following caption:

“Затопленный дом в Карачи, Пакистан, 13 сентября 2011.(Фото Fareed Khan | AP)
[A flooded house in Karachi, Pakistan on September 13, 2011. (Photo by Fareed Khan | AP)]”

We also found the picture posted on the Motley News blog under the ‘Natural Disasters’ tag, with the caption, “A man collects belongings from a flooded room of his home following heavy rainfall in Karachi, Pakistan, on September 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan).”

We then browsed through The Associated Press’ image gallery for photographs from “Pakistan,” refining our search to the 12-14 September 2011 range, and found the same picture, archived here.

The AP’s caption is as follows:

“A Pakistani retrieves belongings from a flooded room of his home following heavy rainfall in Karachi, Pakistan, on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011. The floods caused by heavy rains killed more than 200 people, made about 200,000 people homeless and left 4.2 million acres of agriculture land inundated with water, authorities said. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan).”

Virality

Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the 30-day period from 9 August 2022 to 8 September 2022 using the search term from the caption of the viral Instagram post, “ہم برسوں بعد بھی اپنی آنے والی نسلوں کو بتائیں گے کہ جب سیلاب.”

We found close to 200 posts that garnered over 10,600 interactions on Facebook. The photograph was shared in numerous Facebook groups such as here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. It is important to mention that not all of the posts with the same caption included the viral image.

Soch Fact Check also found the image shared on Instagram account @vogical, as well as on Twitter here. The Instagram post by @islamic_knowledg received over 4,200 likes and 270 comments.

Conclusion: The image is actually from the 2011 floods in Sindh and shows a man retrieving his belongings from his flooded home in Karachi, Pakistan. Associated Press photographer Fareed Khan took the picture on 13 September 2011.

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