Video shows mudslide in Japan not Libya floods

21 September 2023
What was claimed

A video shows the recent floods in Derna, Libya.

Our verdict

This is not true. The video actually shows a mudslide in Japan in 2021.

Online posts falsely claim a video shows recent floods in Derna, Libya, but it actually shows a mudslide in Japan. 

The video shows brown water rushing down a street bringing down poles and picking up cars and debris. 

Tens of thousands of people have viewed the video on X (formerly Twitter) where it has been shared with the captions “Pray for Libya” and “My heart breaks for the people of Libya”. 

It has also been shared by several media accounts from India—Awalokan Sikkim, Sikkim Voice, Digital sikkim Live [sic] and Denzong News—which all include a quote saying that the floods in Libya have been “described as ‘disastrous beyond comprehension’”. One post has more than 10,000 views. 

Full Fact has contacted the organisations and will update the article if we receive a response. 

A reverse image search using stills from the video shows it actually comes from a 2021 mudslide in the coastal town of Atami, Japan, that killed 26 people. The same red building can be seen from different angles in photos and videos published by various news outlets at the time. 

Libya was hit with fatal flooding earlier this month. Heavy rainfall caused by Storm Daniel led two dams to burst near the city of Derna, resulting in a tsunami-like flood in the early hours of 10 September. Estimates of the death toll have varied widely. While the UN Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs (OCHA) previously reported 11,300 deaths, it has since cited the World Health Organisation’s figure of around 4,000 deaths with more than 9,000 still missing. 

Full Fact has also written about another video claiming to show recent events in Libya, which actually shows floods in Saudi Arabia. 

Misinformation can spread quickly online during a large-scale event like this. We’ve observed videos and images being falsely connected to other global events including the recent earthquake in Morocco, wildfires in Maui and riots in France, among others

It’s important to consider whether a post shows what it claims before sharing it online—you can read more about identifying misleading images and videos using our guides here and here.   

Image courtesy of SkyTG24

Full Fact fights bad information

Bad information ruins lives. It promotes hate, damages people’s health, and hurts democracy. You deserve better.