This photo shows former East Timorese president Xanana Gusmao visiting a cyclone-struck area in his country
A photo has been shared in multiple posts on Facebook along with a claim that it shows former East Timorese president Xanana Gusmao carrying an aid box in a cyclone-struck area in neighbouring Indonesia. The claim is false: the photo actually shows Xanana visiting a storm-hit area in his country.
This Facebook post shares two photos on April 10, 2021. The first photo shows Xanana Gusmao, former president of East Timor, carrying a cardboard box, while the second image depicts Indonesian President Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, standing against the backdrop of a mountainous forested area.
The caption reads: “A disaster in East Nusa Tenggara. East Timor President Xanana Gusmao still had time to help carry the aid box. Meanwhile the president here had time to take selfies.”
On April 4, 2021, floods and landslides caused by Tropical Cyclone Seroja devastated villages in Indonesia’s East Nusa Tenggara province and the neighbouring East Timor, killing at least 200 people in the two countries and forcing thousands to flee, AFP reported here.
The claim, however, is false.
A reverse image search found the photo of Gusmao was previously posted here on the Facebook page belonging to East Timorese journalist Mariano Costa on April 8, 2021.
Translated to English, the Tetum-language post reads: “This afternoon, under the pouring rain, still giving aid to flood-struck residents in Lisbutak hamlet, Manleuana village.
“Not only giving aid, Xanana Gusmao was also present to raise the spirit of the survivors amidst the situation after the flood.
“The disaster has affected many communities. Many have also lost their homes and possessions. The road from Manleu to Ailiu is currently unusable, while many houses have been ravaged by a landslide.”
Costa confirmed to AFP via Facebook Messenger on April 14, 2021, that he took the photo himself. “The photo was taken in Manleuana village, Dili,” on April 8, 2021, he said.
Below is a screenshot comparison of the photo in the misleading post (L) and the genuine photo (R):
Gusmao’s visit to Manleuana was also reported by East Timorese TV channel GMNTV here.