An old video from Japan showing vehicles and boats being swept away by a tsunami is viral on social media with false claims that it shows visuals of an overflowing dam in China.
The video shows scary montage of overflowing sea water displacing parked boats and cars. Boats are seen being swept off the waterbody and thrown into the overflowing streets along with cars.
The video is viral in the backdrop of recent floods in China. China has been experiencing a record-breaking rainfall since July 17, 2021 affecting almost 13 million people and damaging nearly 9,000 homes. The flood like situation has caused economic losses in Henan estimated at 53 billion yuan ($8.2 billion). According to officials, the death toll from floods in central China last month is at least 302 with dozens of people still missing.
The video is viral on Facebook and Whatsapp with the caption "The Gorges Dam in China was opened due to heavy overflowing. See what happened next."
BOOM also received this viral video with the same claim on our WhatsApp tipline.
BOOM ran a reverse image search on one the keyframes of the viral video and found a longer version of the video uploaded on a Japanese news outlet ANN News' YouTube channel on January 17, 2020.
The title of the video reads, "Tsunami, Great East Japan Earthquake - Miyako city, Iwate Pref, Japan [11 Mar 2011]". According to the news report, the tsunami was caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Taking cue from this, we did a keyword search on YouTube and found an ABC News report from March 14, 2011. According to the news bulletin, a massive wall of water that rose as high as 30 feet swallowed parts of Japan and caused huge devastation. Starting from 12 second mark, the bulletin used the same visuals as seen in the viral video. The earthquake had an undersea epicenter in the Pacific Ocean, 72 km east of the Tohoku region. It lasted for approximately six minutes, causing a devastating tsunami, which resulted in further catastrophe.
Below is a screenshot from the video and visuals from the viral clip.
According to W.H.O, "In the early afternoon of 11 March 2011, Japan was rocked by a 9.0-magnitude earthquake that caused widespread damage to the country's eastern coastal region. The earthquake was so powerful it moved Honshu, Japan's largest island, 2.4 metres east and shifted the Earth on its axis by an estimated 10 to 25 centimetres."
The devastating scenes of the Great East Japan Earthquake can be seen from a photo gallery published by The Atlantic.
Additionally, BOOM did not find any recent news reports that stated that the Three Gorges Dam opened flooding parts of China. According to a New York Times article, (July 20, 2021), "Last summer, China battled weeks of flooding along the Yangtze River that killed hundreds of people and displaced millions more. The rains at that time filled the Three Gorges Dam to its highest level since it opened in 2003, raising fears that the dam itself could fail."
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