Misinformation spreads over Turkey, Syria earthquake

Misinformation is spreading over the earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria with some rumours falsely stating that a tsunami occurred.

According to the Straits Times, AFP fact-checkers have debunked pictures and videos that were posted online and viewed a thousand times over. The fake news included misattributed pictures and videos that included a “tsunami” and a child mourning his parents.

The video of the supposed tsunami caused by the earthquake on the southern Turkish coast was found to be from a March 2017 storm in Durban, South Africa.

Another video that has widely been circulating on social media, is that of strong waves crashing into a stretch of coastline. The poster attributed the video to Turkey but it was found to be from a storm last month in San Diego, California.

Yet another video showed a dog lying next to someone who appeared to be buried under rubble that was supposedly from the quake’s aftermath. That video had more than 1.5 million views on Twitter.

However, a reverse image search revealed that the picture was online since 2018 and was part of a series uploaded by Czech photographer Jaroslav Noska to the Alamy platform.

Other videos showed the ground or buildings collapsing during the quake or in its aftermath but they were also found to be from other earthquakes such as the one in Japan back in 2011.

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit just before dawn on Monday, near the Turkish city of Gaziantep. Now, the death toll has risen to over 12,000 with rescue workers citing limited resources and cold weather as hindering their efforts.

Meanwhile, President Tayyip Erdogan is facing backlash over his government’s initial response to the devastating earthquake. According to Reuters, angry residents have criticised Erdogan saying that they and their loved ones were left destitute due to the slow arrival of rescue teams.

Erdogan visited disaster zones and reported back that operations were now working normally and promised that no one would be left homeless.

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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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