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Old disaster video resurfaces with false claim it shows '2022 Indonesia earthquake'

AFP Fact Check 11/28/2022 AFP Indonesia

An old clip of a village swallowed by soil has been viewed thousands of times on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube alongside the false claim it shows the aftermath of a deadly earthquake that rocked Indonesia's Cianjur regency in 2022. In reality, the clip shows satellite imagery taken when a powerful quake razed swathes of Central Sulawesi's capital city, Palu, to the ground in 2018.

The video has been viewed more than three million times after it was posted here on Facebook on November 22, 2022.

Text overlaid to the video pins its purported location to "Cianjur" -- a regency in the Indonesian province of West Java which was hit by a deadly shallow earthquake on November 21, 2022.

"After the earthquake, there was a ground movement. It's very terrible," further reads the video's Indonesian text overlay.

© Provided by AFP Fact Check Screenshot of the misleading post, taken on November 25, 2022

By November 26, 2022, at least 321 people were killed in the 5.6-magnitude earthquake, which caused landslides and building collapses in Cianjur.

The video has garnered more than 69,000 views after it circulated with a similar claim here on Facebook; as well as here, here and here on YouTube.

Days after the Cianjur quake, the footage was also shared alongside an English claim about "a recent earthquake in Indonesia" by Twitter users in India, Pakistan and Australia; as well as Facebook users in Malaysia, Sri Lanka and the United States.

The video, however, is old and shows an earthquake in Indonesia years ago.

Central Sulawesi quake in 2018

Combined reverse image and keyword searches on Google found the video was satellite imagery, posted here on Twitter by the late Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the spokesman of the Indonesian National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB), on October 6, 2018.

The Indonesian-language tweet reads in part: "Soil liquefaction process in Palu City recorded by WorldView Satellite with a pixel resolution of 0.5 meters.

"Houses and buildings were swept away and drowned by the mud generated by the earthquake."

Sutopo posted the satellite imagery several days after a 7.5-magnitude quake hit Indonesia's Central Sulawesi province, including the capital Palu, on September 28, 2018.

The quake triggered a tsunami and liquefaction -- a phenomenon where brute ground shaking turns soil to quicksand -- and killed more than 4,000 people in Palu and other parts of the province.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the video shared in the false post (left) and the original video from 2018 (right), with the identical features marked by AFP:

© Provided by AFP Fact Check Screenshot comparison of the video shared in the false post (left) and the original video from 2018 (right)

The same video was also published here on YouTube by Indonesian broadcaster Kompas TV on October 6, 2018, titled: "Here Is Satellite Imagery of Soil Liquefaction in Petobo."

Petobo is a district in the southern part of Palu.

Indonesia experiences frequent seismic and volcanic activity due to its position on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", where tectonic plates collide.

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