By: Rahul Adhikari
December 6 2023
Social media post claiming that a house was washed away in the Chennai floods. (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)
The viral video dates back to 2021 and was captured in the Kottayam district of Kerala. It is unrelated to the recent Chennai rains.
Severe cyclonic storm Michaung recently struck the southern coastal states of India, resulting in significant damage. The cyclonic storm brought heavy rainfall to Chennai, leading to a flood-like situation in the city, with streets waterlogged and daily life severely disrupted. According to the latest reports, a total of 17 people in Chennai have lost their lives in incidents related to the incessant rainfall triggered by Michaung.
What is the claim?
In this context, a video was shared on social media claiming that it shows a house getting washed away in Chennai due to heavy rainfall. The video shows a one-storeyed riverside house slowly toppling backward and falling into the river. The heavy current of the river sweeps away the building, and it disappears into the water within seconds. A user shared the video on X (formerly Twitter) and linked the incident to the current flood-like situation in Chennai. The post (archived here) had gained over 77,000 views and 130 likes at the time of writing. The caption of the viral post read, "Dear friends in Chennai..plz stay safe & secure. Go out only if necessary. Pretty scary visuals. But stay calm. #ChennaiFloods #ChennaiRains2023 #ChennaRains #ChennaiCyclone #CycloneMichuang @Portalcoin #Portalcoin.”
However, the viral video was captured in Kerala's Kottayam district in 2021 and not recently in Chennai.
What did we find?
A reverse-image search using keyframes of the viral video revealed that the video dates back to 2021. Several mainstream media outlets had published the video in October 2021. CNN-News 18 had shared the video on YouTube on October 18, 2021, stating in the description that the house was washed away in the strong currents of a river in Kottayam's Mundakayam.
The video was also published on The Hindu's official YouTube channel on October 18, 2021. The description of the video stated that the strong currents of a river, caused by heavy rainfall in the area, swept the house away in Mundakayam, Kottayam.
We also found an extensive report of the incident published along with the viral video by The Times of India on October 18, 2021. According to the report, the house was located on the banks of a river on Kalleppalam Road near Mundakayam town. The owner, K P Jeby, had gone to work, and his wife Pushpa and daughter Revathy were home. Neighbors spotted cracks in the house and alerted Pushpa, following which the mother and daughter evacuated the house just a few minutes before it was washed away. A neighbor shot the video of the collapse, the report added.
Kottayam-based media outlet Onmanorama also published an interview with Jebi and Pushpa on October 18, 2021. The report also included the viral video and stated that it was captured by Jebi's neighbor, Ameer Ismail. The house was washed away by the heavy current in the Manimalayar river, and the family suffered losses of Rs 2.5 lakhs, including important documents, the report further said.
2021 Kottayam rains
According to a report by The Hindu, published on October 23, 2021, heavy rainfall in the eastern high ranges of Kottayam and Pathanamthitta had raised fears of floods in central Travancore. The report added that heavy rainfall caused a sharp rise in the water levels of the Manimalayar River in Kottayam. Another The Times Of India report from October 17, 2021, stated that 13 deaths were reported from Kottayam amid landslides and flood-like situation in the region.
An old video of a house being washed away by river waters in Kerala was falsely linked to cyclone Michaung. The viral video was captured in October 2021 in Mundakayam, Kottayam, and is unrelated to the recent Chennai rains. Therefore, we have marked the claim false.