Yemeni boy's photo falsely shared with claim it shows 'child rescued after Afghanistan quake'

·2 min read

A photo of a boy has been shared hundreds of times in multiple Pakistani social media posts that claim he was rescued from the rubble of a deadly earthquake that struck Afghanistan in June 2022. However, the photo has been shared in a false context; it has circulated online since 2015 in reports about the Yemen conflict. The photographer told AFP he took the image in Yemen in 2015, after Houthi rebels destroyed the boy's home.

The photo was shared here on Twitter on June 23, 2022.

It has been retweeted more than 240 times.

“After the Afghanistan earthquake, a child was stuck under rubble for about 24 hours but was found alive by the grace of Allah,” reads the Urdu-language caption.

Screenshot of the false post. Taken on July 14, 2022.

The photo circulated online soon after a 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck Afghanistan's remote eastern border region on June 21, 2022, killing at least 1,000 people and injuring 1,500 others, AFP reported.

It was shared alongside a similar claim on Twitter here, here, here and here; and on Facebook here.

However, the photo has been shared in a false context.

Yemeni child

A reverse image search found the photo published in this report by Yemeni media outlet Almasdar Online on December 10, 2015.

"A number of Yemeni peace activists called on the warring parties in Yemen to stop the fighting and reach a peace agreement in the second round of Yemeni negotiations, which are expected to take place in Geneva in the middle of this month," reads the Arabic-language report.

The United Nations has said the ongoing conflict between Yemen's Saudi-backed government and the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels is the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

The conflict has devastated the country and killed an estimated 377,000 people due to both fighting and lack of clean water, hunger and disease.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the photo in the false posts (left) with the one published by Almasdar Online (right):

Screenshot comparison of the photo in the false posts (left) with the one from Almasdar Online (right). Taken on July 14, 2022.

A further keyword search found the photo was posted to the Facebook page of freelance photographer Nabil Al-awzari on January 6, 2015.

"I had a home here. They destroyed it and made me homeless. #MyLens," the Arabic-language caption reads.

Al-awzari told AFP the image showed a boy whose house had been destroyed by Yemen's Houthi rebels.

"I took this picture in Yemen in 2015 when [Houthi rebels] destroyed his house...then the family ran away to Marib," he said.

The photo has since been used in reports about the Yemen conflict by the UN in 2017 and by the UAE-based Al Arabiya news channel in 2018.

AFP has debunked other misleading claims following the Afghanistan earthquake here and here.

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