Photo shows aftermath of earthquake in Azad Kashmir, not Afghanistan

The photo is from 2019.

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Claim: A photo of a damaged road depicts the aftermath of a powerful 6.1 magnitude earthquake that struck Afghanistan on 21 June 2022.

Fact: The photo actually shows a large crack in the road arising from a major earthquake that hit Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), also known as Pakistan-administered Kashmir, in September 2019.

Fact or Fiction?

On 23 June 2022, Facebook page RJ Diary shared a photo with a caption that suggests the photo shows the aftermath of a powerful 6.1 magnitude earthquake that struck eastern Afghanistan on 21 June 2022.

The post was accompanied by the caption, “وہ یوں بھی اپنے ھونے کا پتہ دیتا ھے بس تھورا سا زمیں کو ھلا دیتا ھے افغانستان میں 6.1 شدت کے زلزلے سے 1000 سے زائد افراد شہید اور1500 سے زائد  زخمی ہوگئے۔ زلزلے سے کچے مکانات گر گئے۔ اور زمین میں دراڑیں پڑگئیں۔ اے اللہ ہمارے گناہ معاف کرے  [He makes his presence felt like this, just shakes the earth a bit. An earthquake of 6.1 magnitude in Afghanistan has killed at least 1,000 and injured more than 1,500 people. The earthquake knocked down mud houses and cracks appeared in the ground. O Allah forgive our sins].”

The photo was shared with the same or a similar claim by several other pages including, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here, among others.

It was also shared on multiple groups such as here, here, here, here and here.

Soch Fact Check found the claim to be misleading after searching the image using  Google Lens which turned up the keyword “2019 Kashmir earthquake”. The search also led to an article by Dunya News, titled “In Pictures: Strong earthquake wreaks havoc in Mirpur, Azad Kashmir” from 24 September 2019 which features the same image. 

The Los Angeles Times published a story by the Associated Press (AP)  titled, “Strong earthquake jolts Pakistan, killing 19 and injuring more than 300”on 24 September 2019. The article features the  photo in question with the caption, “A view of damaged road caused after an earthquake of 5.8 magnitude with epicenter in Mirpur, Pakistan.” 

Soch Fact Check compared the viral photo with the photo featured in the news articles and concluded that the photo shows a damaged road following an earthquake that struck Azad Jammu and Kashmir in September 2019.

Virality

Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the 7-day period leading up to 28 June 2022 using the following search term:

  • افغانستان میں 6.1 شدت کے زلزلے سے 1000 سے زائد افراد شہید اور1500 سے زائد  زخمی ہوگئے [An earthquake of 6.1 magnitude in Afghanistan has killed at least 1,000 and injured more than 1,500 people]

The search term turned up 11,396 interactions across 16 posts on Facebook.

The analysis revealed that this post is performing 41 times better than other similar posts on Facebook, with 2,600 likes and 3,200 shares, followed by this post which received 591 likes and 58 shares. 

Conclusion: The viral photo in question does not show the aftermath of the 21 June 2022 earthquake in Afghanistan. In fact, it shows a large crack in the road in Azad Jammu and Kashmir after the region was struck by an earthquake in September 2019.

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