Media outlets share old images as visuals of 2023 Morocco earthquake

By: Anurag Baruah
September 12 2023

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Media outlets share old images as visuals of 2023 Morocco earthquake

Screenshots of Da News Plus' broadcast which carried old photos as that of Morocco earthquake. (Source: Facebook/Screenshots)


The Verdict False

The images are from various earthquakes that occurred in different parts of the world over the last decade or so.

Claim ID 7794f05a

At least 2,800 people were killed after a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit Morocco on Friday, September 8, 2023. Rescue workers are racing against the clock to find survivors as around 2,500 injured have been traced so far. 

What is the claim?

A news report by Assamese news broadcaster, Da News Plus, posted visuals of destruction and damage claiming to be from Morroco to their Facebook page on September 10, 2023. An archived verion of the post can be seen here.

On closer inspection, we found three of the images included in the report are actually from previous earthquakes from different parts of the world. Some of the images have been picked up by various other news outlets, including Hindi-language newspaper Punjab Kesari and Assamese news photo agency UB Photos, who have reported that they are from the recent Morocco earthquake.

We came across a post by a Facebook user which carried the image of cars and one image of a crumbling building with rubble lying around. The post has garnered around 1,800 shares and 8,000 reactions. An archived version of the post can be found here.

Screenshot of Facebook post. (Source: Facebook)

What did we find?

We conducted a reverse image search on keyframes of the viral video and found evidence that three images are from older earthquakes that occurred earlier in different parts of the world. 

The image showing wrecked ships

A reverse image search on this image led us to a photo essay published on the website of the Japanese news agency, Kyodo News, on March 11, 2021, titled “IN PHOTOS: Recalling devastation of Great East Japan Earthquake.” The viral image of wrecked ships has been included in this photo essay. The description reads, “Photo taken from a helicopter on March 12, 2011, shows ships swept ashore by a tsunami in the city of Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, after Japan's strongest recorded earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0 hit the country the previous day.” The image was credited to Kyodo. 

Comparision of viral image showing wrecked ships with the original image. (Source: Facebook(L)/Kyodo News(R))

This image was also posted on the website of NBC News with a similar caption on March 12, 2011, and credit was given to Kyodo News via AP.

On March 11, 2011, Japan experienced a 9.0 magnitude earthquake, the strongest in its recorded history, generating a tsunami. The incident left more than 15,000 people dead, infrastructure damaged, and homes destroyed.

Tall buildings and a white car

A reverse image search on this photo led us to a CNN news report published on February 6, 2023, about the Turkey-Syria earthquake. The viral image was included in this report with the caption, “A destroyed apartment and damaged vehicle in Yurt neighborhood of Cukurova district after the earthquake in Adana, Turkey,” and credit has been given to Omer Yildiz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images. 

Comparision of viral image showing tall buildings and a white car with the original image. (Source: Facebook (L)/Getty Images(R))

We found the same photo on the Getty Images website, which also stated that the photo was taken in the Yurt neighborhood of Cukurova district after the February 6, 2023 earthquake in Turkey. 

Crumbling houses and rubble

A reverse image search led us to multiple websites that published this photo, including stock image websites like Pixabay. While we could not independently verify this photo's original source, we could trace the image back as far as April 20, 2010, when it was published on the website The photo was used as a representative image for an article on the 2010 Chile earthquake. 

Comparision of the viral image showing crumbling houses and rubble lying around with the original image. (Source: Facebook(L), Pixabay/Geoengineer(R))

The existence of the image clearly predates the September 2023 tremor that hit Morocco.

The verdict

Three images that we have found used in different news reports and a viral Facebook post are from older incidents of earthquakes. We are marking the claim as false because they have no connection to the recent Morocco earthquake. 

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English , অসমীয়া

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