Video from 2011 tsunami shared as visuals of 2024 Dubai floods

By: Anurag Baruah
April 26 2024

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Video from 2011 tsunami shared as visuals of 2024 Dubai floods

Screenshot of social media post falsely claiming that the video shows the 2024 Dubai floods. (Source: Screenshot/Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The video shows visuals from the 2011 tsunami in Japan after a 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit the region.

Claim ID 384a4555

What is the claim?

On 15 April, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) experienced its heaviest rain in 75 years, leading to unprecedented flooding in Dubai and other parts of the country. Social media was swamped with photos and videos depicting floodwaters, with users claiming that they showed visuals of the 2024 Dubai floods. 

One such dramatic video shows cars, houses, and other objects, being swept away by strong currents of water, recorded from a vantage point where other shocked onlookers can be seen. Facebook and X (formerly Twitter) handles have shared the video with captions linking it to the 2024 Dubai floods.

One X user claimed that the video showed the floods in Dubai, alleging that it was a result of the suffering of children and people in Gaza. This particular post has been viewed more than 100,000 times so far.” Archived versions of the posts can be seen here, and here

Screenshot of the viral X post. (Source: Screenshot/X/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, the video is from the tsunami that swept through Japan after a 9.0 magnitude earthquake that hit the region on March 11, 2011. 

How did we find the source?

A reverse image search on keyframes of the video led us to an extended version uploaded on the official YouTube channel of TBS News Dig (archive here), a FAST (Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV) news channel by the Japan News Network (JNN) on February 25, 2021. The description talks about the huge tsunami that swept Japan after a earthquake hit the country on March 11, 2011. It added that the YouTube video shows cars and containers being washed away along the coast of Miyako City, Iwate Prefecture during the tsunami. 

The viral video clip starts around 1:57 of the YouTube video and ends around 3:07 in one version of the claim shared on X. A longer version of the video used to make the claim on Facebook extended from the 1:57 timestamp to the end of the YouTube video. 

Locating the area in the video

We looked for identification markers in the longer and clearer YouTube video in an attempt to geolocate the place. We also took cues from the information provided in the YouTube video. 

We were able to successfully compare between buildings seen in the viral video, YouTube video, and Google Maps to confirm further that the visuals show the area in and around the Miyako Fish Market located at Rinkodori, Miyako, Iwate prefecture in Japan. 

Comparison between screenshots of the viral video, YouTube video, and Google Maps. (Source: Screenshots/X/JNN/Google Maps/Modified by Logically Facts)

Miyako’s fish market during the 2011 Tsunami

A report published by the official Government of Japan website mentions Miyako’s fish market while discussing the effect of the 2011 tsunami on the fishing industry in the city. The report further mentions that the tsunami inundated the fish market, almost up to the roof, and includes an image of the flooded Miyako market that we found similar to visuals seen in the viral video and the YouTube video. 

Screenshot of the official Japanese government website. (Source: Screenshot/JAPANGOV)

The verdict

The viral video actually shows the 2011 tsunami that swept through Japan after the 9.0 magnitude earthquake that hit the country on March 11, 2011. It has no connection to the 2024 Dubai floods. Therefore, we have marked the claim as false. 

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