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Fact Check: 2015 Footage Falsely Shared As The Moment When An Earthquake Hit Bajhang District On Tuesday

Sanjeeb Phuyal is the Nepali Editor of Newschecker based in Kathmandu, Nepal. He brings over a decade of experience writing and editing news. In his previous stint, he worked as online editor for The Kathmandu Post. With the growth of social media platforms—and the ever-growing competition amongst media outlets to churn out breaking news, he feels that fact-checking every piece of information has become more essential today than ever before.

Claim
Footage shows the moment when a quake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale hit Bajhang on Tuesday (October 3, 2023).
Fact
Video actually shows a moment in Nepal’s Bhaktapur city when a devastating earthquake struck Nepal in April 2015

Many false and unrelated videos have been circulating on social media in the wake of a 6.3-magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal’s western Bajhang district on October 3. Against this backdrop, a video purportedly showing live footage of Tuesday’s earthquake is going viral on TikTok.

Three earthquakes, with initial magnitudes measuring 5.3, 6.3 and  5.1, had struck Nepal’s western region in quick succession on Tuesday. The tremors of the strongest quake had been felt in several parts of north India including Delhi. 

TikTok user @doctor.fact4u posted a video showing footage of collapsing temples and buildings and panic-stricken people finding it hard to stand still. Text superimposed on the video reads, “Earthquake in Nepal. Date: October 03, 2023.” Hindi audio accompanying the video presented in a news reporting style says, “Once again we are showing the footage from Nepal where an earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter Scale so that you can estimate the magnitude of the damage. Earlier in April 2015 when Nepal was hit by a devastating earthquake, India had extended humanitarian support to Nepal in which around 9000 people were killed. And the epicentre of the earthquake is the bordering region of Nepal and India, where the Indian and Eurasian plates brush with each other. This area is highly prone to earthquakes…”

The video posted on October 3 has garnered 32.7k likes, 2596 users have shared it and 307 people have commented until the time of publishing this article. The archived version of the TikTok video can be seen here.

Newschecker found the claim to be misleading.

Fact Check /Verification

To check the authenticity of the claim made in the viral video, Newschecker split the video into several keyframes and conducted reverse searches on them.  The results pointed us to a video, dated April 30, 2015, published on the YouTube channel of BBC News. The video frames exactly matched the footage shown in the viral video.

The BBC video description reads that an amateur video has emerged of the moment ancient temples in the Nepalese town of Bhaktapur were destroyed by an earthquake. We found that the viral footage showed a moment when a devastating earthquake struck Nepal in April 2015.

Further, we conducted a search on YouTube by using relevant keywords and found the same video published on the YouTube channel of Associated Press. The video dated April 30, 2015 was also captured when a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal with its epicentre in Barpak of Gorkha district.

Additionally, Newscheker searched for news reports about the damage caused by Tuesday’s quake and found an article published in Nepal News online which confirmed that a person died and an estimated 135 structures suffered damage in Bajhang due to the earthquake. Though the tremors of the quake was felt in Kathmandu, there are no reports of damage caused by the earthquake.

Thus, our findings clearly show that the viral footage shows old footage from Bhaktapur when a devastating earthquake rocked Nepal in April 2015.

Conclusion

No, the viral video doesn’t show the moment when a 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck Bajhang district on October 3. The viral video actually shows the moment when a magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit Nepal on April 25, 2015.

Result: Missing Context

Sources
BBC News /YouTube April 30, 2015
 AP /YouTube April 30, 2015
Nepanews.com, October 4, 2023
 India TV /YouTube April 30, 2015


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Sanjeeb Phuyal is the Nepali Editor of Newschecker based in Kathmandu, Nepal. He brings over a decade of experience writing and editing news. In his previous stint, he worked as online editor for The Kathmandu Post. With the growth of social media platforms—and the ever-growing competition amongst media outlets to churn out breaking news, he feels that fact-checking every piece of information has become more essential today than ever before.

Sanjeeb Phuyal
Sanjeeb Phuyal
Sanjeeb Phuyal is the Nepali Editor of Newschecker based in Kathmandu, Nepal. He brings over a decade of experience writing and editing news. In his previous stint, he worked as online editor for The Kathmandu Post. With the growth of social media platforms—and the ever-growing competition amongst media outlets to churn out breaking news, he feels that fact-checking every piece of information has become more essential today than ever before.

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