Video of sandstorm in Egypt falsely peddled as cyclone Biparjoy

By: Rahul Adhikari
June 15 2023

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Video of sandstorm in Egypt falsely peddled as cyclone Biparjoy


The Verdict False

The video shows a sandstorm surrounding Egypt's Suez Canal, which led to authorities closing two ports. The incident left one dead and five injured.

Claim ID 7e4254a0

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has sounded a red alert, issuing a warning for the Saurashtra and Kutch coasts of Gujarat, as cyclone Biparjoy continues its approach. As the cyclone, which has weakened and transformed into a "very severe cyclonic storm," looks to make landfall between Mandvi in India's western state of Gujarat and Karachi in southern Pakistan, social media has been flooded with old photos and videos unrelated to the cyclone. 

One such video, circulating on social media, claims to show the cyclone approaching the coastal areas of Karachi and Gujarat. The viral video shows a massive storm covering a water body and a ship within a few seconds. A user shared the video on Twitter on June 14, gaining 144k views at the time of writing this story. "Scenes of the storm moving towards the coastal areas of #Karachi and #Gujarat," they captioned it.

However, the claim is false. The viral video actually captures a sandstorm in Egypt's Suez Canal. 

In Fact
Upon conducting a reverse image search, we found that the video in question was actually shared by a YouTube channel called Marineinsight on June 3, where it was described as a sandstorm at the Suez Canal in Egypt. 

BBC News also shared a very similar video from a different angle, depicting a sandstorm that took place around the Suez Canal on June 1. As a result of the storm's severity, authorities were compelled to temporarily close two ports. The report said that one person died and five individuals sustained injuries as a billboard collapsed due to the force of the storm.

According to a report by CNN dated June 2, 2023, a significant sandstorm struck both the Suez Canal and the capital city of Cairo, resulting in the loss of one life and leaving several individuals injured. CNN also carried the same footage as that of the BBC. 

While sandstorms are not uncommon in Egypt, one of this magnitude is considered to be quite rare. Sandstorms occur when strong winds pick up and carry large amounts of sand particles, reducing visibility and causing potential hazards. In Egypt, due to its geographical location and desert landscape, sandstorms can be a recurring natural phenomenon.

The Verdict
A video of a sandstorm in Egypt over the Suez Canal was erroneously shared as visuals of cyclone Biparjoy approaching India and Pakistan. The sandstorm occurred on June 1, and it is important to note that the viral video is completely unrelated to the cyclone. Therefore, we have marked the claim as false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before