Some pictures circulating as this week’s Melamchi flooding scenes are old

Sanjog Shiwakoti / June 18, 2021

A collage of social media posts on this week’s flooding of the Melamchi River in Sindhupalchowk district.

A devastating flooding of the Melamchi River on Tuesday night swept through riverside settlements from Helambu to Melamchi in Sindhupalchowk district, damaging roads, bridges and houses. While hundreds have been displaced, dozens are missing and at least three people are confirmed dead. People from the area began posting photos and video clips of the flood damage on social media since the flooding started. Social media users from across the country and abroad have taken to Twitter, Facebook and TikTok to draw the world’s attention to the disaster with hashtags #prayforsindhupalchowk and #prayformelamchi.

The photos can be found here here on Facebook and here here on Twitter. Videos created using different pictures and clips have also been shared here and here on TikTok with hashtag #prayforsindhupalchok. Although most of these photos are from this week, we found that some photos were from previous floods and landslides in Nepal.

Among the photos circulating on social media platforms, we found that at least four are misleading.

Photo 1:

This picture is from Sindhupalchowk district, but it was taken during last year’s flooding. We reverse searched the image on Google and found that it was published by The Himalayan Times. The image taken after a flooding in Jambu Bazaar of Bahrabise Municipality in Sindhupalchowk was published on July 9, 2020. The picture is credited to the state-owned National News Agency.

Photo 2:

This is a photo of a landslide that struck a settlement on the Araniko Highway along the Bhotekoshi River in Sindhupalchowk district four years ago. This photo has been shared along with recent pictures. According to a news published in The Himalayan Times, the photo was taken on July 9, 2016. The photo was taken from a Facebook account called Ttapassi Dhamma, according to the caption.

Photo 3:

We found that this picture was published in The Kathmandu Post three years ago. The newspaper used this photo along with a news report headlined “4 missing in Dolakha landslide” published on June 28, 2017. But the newspaper has neither provided details about the picture nor revealed the source.

Photo 4:

We ran a reverse image search and found this image on the news website Setopati. It was published with the title Aajaka Tasveerharu Asar 29 [Today’s photos mid-July]. The caption said the picture showed the flooded Buldikhola river in Tanahun district. The photo is credited to Krishna Neupane of the National News Agency. Since Setopati has only mentioned the month and the day but no year, we conducted a keyword search and found that the original picture was published in state-owned The Rising Nepal on July 13, 2020.

Therefore it is clear that some of the images shared on social media as this week’s Melamchi flooding scenes are old and misleading.

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