False: Videos show the earthquake that hit eastern Tajikistan on February 23.

By: Praveen Kumar
February 27 2023

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False: Videos show the earthquake that hit eastern Tajikistan on February 23.


The Verdict False

Old video clips of various earthquakes from around the world have been misattributed to the recent earthquake in Tajikistan.

Claim ID 358b324d


On February 23, 2023, a major earthquake hit Tajikistan, about 82 kilometers (kms) from the nearest border with China. It was 7.2-magnitude quake with a depth of 10 kms (6 miles) and was strongly felt in some parts of China's western Xinjiang regions - Kashgar and Artux, Reuters reported. Following this, many videos related to the disaster went viral.

A six-second-long video on Twitter and Facebook, which has over 42,000 views, shows what appears to be a house with various items of furniture shaking violently and objects on and near them falling to the floor. The text overlaid in the video says it shows the recent earthquake in Tajikistan. Another 15-second video on Twitter, claims to show a compilation of earthquake clips with over 54,000 views. It includes a video clip of a roofed gate-like structure falling on a busy road as people flee, another shows products in a grocery shop aisle falling to the floor as a man runs away, and a clip of skyscrapers swaying right and left slightly. A Twitter video with over 42,000 views shows a family of three tumbling from a moped, a structure in the middle of the road crashing as a car stops next to it, and people attempting to flee the earthquake. The video was shared with the claim that it showed visuals from China as the earthquake struck Tajikistan.

However, this is not true, as these video clips predate the recent Tajikistan earthquake and are from other parts of the world.

In Fact

On reverse image searching the keyframes of the viral video showing the inside of the house, we found that the footage is from 2021. We found the clip on Japan Inside's Facebook post and in a video news report by TRT World Now on its YouTube channel. The description of the latter stated that the visuals show the earthquake that hit Japan's Fukushima region on February 13, 2021. Japan Inside's Facebook post captioned the video with "Earthquake update: Tokyo," and TRT World Now credited the video to Twitter user @himei42, which may be this clip's original or oldest upload. It has over 5.7 million views, 41.5K retweets, and 125.4K likes.

Similarly, we reverse-searched the keyframes of the compilation of earthquake visuals and found that the clip of the roofed structure falling is from the 2015 earthquake in Nepal. The country's online newspaper Setopati uploaded a longer version of the video on its YouTube channel dated April 29, 2015, titled "LIVE footage of earthquake in Kathmandu." The video captured the road before and after the structure crashed.

The clip of the grocery store is from the earthquake that hit Trinidad in 2018. Verified YouTube channel 'Underworld,' which uploads lists of disaster videos for educational purposes, published a wider angle and longer version of this clip as part of a video titled "5 Strongest Earthquakes Caught on Camera". The clip explained that the footage was from the earthquake that hit the island nation on August 21, 2018. 

The clip of the swaying skyscrapers is from Japan, and the full video of the scene was uploaded on YouTube by a channel named Kuro-report on March 25, 2011. According to its description, translated from Japanese, the Shinjuku Center Building, situated in the Nishi-Shinjuku business district in Tokyo, swayed during the Tohoku-Pacific Ocean earthquake on March 11, 2011.

Further, we traced the clip of the family of three and the structure falling to the ground to a video uploaded to YouTube on February 14, 2020, by the verified YouTube channel WildFilmsIndia, which publishes tourism-based and stock footage. We found that this video is a longer version of the viral footage, and according to its description, is from the Nepal earthquake of 2015, also known as the Gorkha earthquake. The location is specified as Tripureshwor Chowk in Kathmandu.

CNBCTV18 reported that the recent earthquake in Tajikistan struck 67 kms (41 miles) west of Murghob. It added that the earthquake's epicenter was in Gorno-Badakhshan, a semi-autonomous eastern region that borders Afghanistan and China. A 5.0 magnitude aftershock hit the area about 20 minutes after the initial quake.

The Verdict

Video clips of earthquakes from different countries at different points in time have been incorrectly associated with the February 2023 Tajikistan earthquake. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

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