The recent Cyclone Burevi which hit the north-eastern coast of Sri Lanka on the night of 2nd December, gradually moved west towards the on the following day, without causing extensive damage.
The Department of Meteorology and Disaster Management Center both had issued warnings about heavy rains and strong winds especially in the identified risk zones across the North East and North West areas of the island.
In this context, we discovered that a video was being shared on social media, which shows a billboard collapsing and falling on a motorist, claiming to be taken in Kattankudy, Sri Lanka during Cyclone Burevi. However, our investigation revealed that the video was not taken recently and not shot in Sri Lanka.
Social Media Posts:
A Facebook Page named “Latta Patta” posted the video on 2nd December with the words: “Kaththankudy Sri Lanka” as seen below.
A further search revealed that other Facebook pages including Digital TV and Theema had also posted the video on 2nd December:
Since this post was being consistently shared on the 2nd of December, we decided to investigate further.
Kattankudy is a town in the Eastern province in Sri Lanka close to Batticaloa with a high percentage of Muslim community. In the above video shared on social circles, after the flying billboard hit the motorist, the Islamic phrase “Allahu Akbar” was heard, indicating that incident could have possibly taken place in a Muslim community.
Our fact check began with a reverse image search after breaking down the video into key frames via the InVid & We Verify Tool. Here, we discovered that the video was also shared on social media several times on August 2020, months before Cyclone Burevi.
For instance, a page named Express Tribune Video shared the video on 7th August with the following text: “A billboard on Shahrae-Faisal road falls, injures bike riders. As Karachi witnessed a heavy rainfall yesterday, wreaking havoc for many, a billboard near Avari Tower fell because of the storm, injuring bike riders”
The link provided in the video which gave us further information into the heavy rainfall in Karachi, Pakistan this August including specific reference to the Shahrae-Faisal area.
We also discovered that several Pakistani news sites had carried the story and video, including Saama Tv and on a video posted to 24 News HD’s YouTube channel titled: “Watch! Billboard Falls on Biker During Rain” as seen below.
Here is another story we had fact checked few days back, in which floods resulting from a tsunami in 2011 attributing Karachi floods in Pakistan.
Based on our investigation, it is clear that the video shared across social media on 2nd December and claiming to be effects of the Burevi Cyclone in Kattankudy Sri Lanka was actually, when a billboard on Shahrae-Faisal road near Karachi, Pakistan collapsed because of heavy rainfalls and storms experienced in the city during August 2020
Title:FACT CHECK: Was this video taken in Kattankudy during the Burevi Cyclone?Fact Check By: Shanaya Seneviratne