Viral image of drowned baby is from Peshawar not Balochistan

The child in the image is from Peshawar, KP where she drowned in River Kabul and her body was recovered near Attock

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Claim: A viral image shows a young girl who drowned in Balochistan during the recent monsoon flooding in Pakistan. 

Fact: The viral image is of a girl who drowned in River Kabul, Peshawar and was found by rescue services near Attock.

On 27 July 2022, an image of an infant’s dead body went viral on social media and was shared repeatedly by several accounts on Facebook and Twitter. While some claimed that the image was from the recent floods in Balochistan, others claimed that it was from Dera Gazi Khan. Soch Fact Check investigated these claims.

Fact or Fiction?

Using a Google Reverse Image search, we discovered that there are two other images circulating on social media that are allegedly associated with the same child.

Journalist Yusra Askari tweeted the first of the above images with the caption “Who is answerable for Sara’s death?” Some of the replies to this tweet claimed that the image is actually of a baby boy who was discovered in Dera Ghazi Khan during the floods which were first reported on 25 July 2022.

In response, Askari attached an Urdu News article which claimed that the Rescue 1122 team found this child in Nowshera, KP. To verify this information, we contacted a Rescue 1122 officer Asad Zaman’s to confirm the child’s identity and whether she was recovered by rescue services in KP. 

In response, Soch Fact Check received two original photographs, a voice note and a text message confirming the details regarding the child and the discovery of her body by Zaman

The voice note is a recording of a Rescue 1122 worker in KP who confirms that the child was discovered on Tuesday, 26 July 2022 by locals living near the bank of River Kabul in the Pir Sabaq village in Nowshera district. The rescue worker confirms that the locals immediately called Rescue 1122 services, who sent an ambulance to the river bank and transferred the body to the District Headquarter Hospital in Nowshera. After the transfer, Rescue 1122 services were able to locate the girl’s family within the next two hours. 

 Zaman also confirmed that the girl’s name was Sara and she was two years old. Her family was from Hassan Garhi, Peshawar. 

Below is the voice note shared with Soch Fact Check and the two original images of the child taken by the locals who discovered her body. Soch Fact Check has blurred the child’s face in these images. Zaman also shared a screenshot of the Nowshera KP Rescue 1122 group where the updates regarding the child were shared and the announcement made by the Rescue 1122 team when they began searching for Sara’s family. 

 

Screenshot from the Nowshera KPK Rescue 1122 group where it is confirmed that the spokesperson from Nowshera has confirmed that the girl belongs to Peshawar.

 

Virality

Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the 2-day period from 27 July 2022 to 29 July 2022 using the following search terms:

  • “بچی” “بلوچستان” “سیلاب” 
  • “بچی” “غازی” “ڈیرہ” 
  •  “لاش” “سیلاب” “بچہ” 

We found that on Facebook and Twitter, the images were shared several times in all three contexts, placing the child in Dera Gazi Khan, Nowshera and Balochistan. Some examples from Facebook can be found here, here, here and here

It was shared more widely on Twitter, reaching 1,419,897 users and gathering over 20,249 interactions. Some examples can be seen here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Soch Fact Check also fact-checked another viral image claiming to show the aftermath of this year’s monsoon floods, the article can be found here

Conclusion: An image of a child’s dead body purporting to be from the recent floods in Balochistan went viral on social media. Soch Fact Check was able to verify with Rescue 1122 KP that the image was actually of a girl named Sara from Peshawar who drowned in the River Kabul and her body was recovered by locals in Pir Sabaq village. 

 

 

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