Photo shows child fleeing Myanmar in 2017, not Pakistan flood victim in 2022

  • This article is more than one year old.
  • Published on September 15, 2022 at 13:53
  • 2 min read
  • By Wasi MIRZA, AFP Pakistan
After devastating floods left nearly a third of Pakistan underwater, a photo of a tearful girl was widely shared in posts about the disaster. However, the photo actually shows a child fleeing violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state in 2017.

"Floods in Pakistan have created havoc. Homeless, displaced, devastated," reads an Instagram post shared by Pakistani actress Neelam Muneer Khan on August 25.

"People of Pakistan are in horror & loss but our leaders are fighting with each other for power. How will they justify themselves in front of Allah Almighty?"

The post attracted more than 42,000 likes.

Screenshot of the misleading post taken on September 14, 2022.

Heavy rain has poured misery on millions affected by Pakistan's worst floods in history.

Nearly a third of the country is under water -- an area the size of the United Kingdom -- following months of record monsoon rains that have killed 1,300 people and washed away homes, businesses, roads and bridges.

The photo of the girl was widely shared in posts praying for victims of the disaster, including on Facebook and Twitter.

Pakistani lawmaker Shagufta Malik also shared the picture in a tweet on the floods.

However, the photo was taken on the Myanmar-Bangladesh border years before the record floods hit Pakistan.

Violence in Myanmar

A reverse image and keyword search found the photo in the archives of Getty Images.

The photo's caption reads: "A Rohingya girl cries as refugees fleeing from Myanmar cross a stream in the hot sun on a muddy rice field on October 16, 2017 near Palang Khali, Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh."

Screenshot of the photo published in the archives of Getty Images

The photo was published in various reports about Rohingya fleeing violence in Myanmar, including by CNBC and The Atlantic.

In August 2017, around 750,000 Rohingya streamed over the border from Myanmar's Rakhine state to Bangladesh to escape a brutal military crackdown.

The US Biden administration accused the Myanmar military of committing genocide against the Muslim minority.

The Rohingya have been subject to decades of discrimination in Buddhist-majority Myanmar and have been stripped of citizenship.

AFP has debunked a string of false and misleading claims about the floods in Pakistan, including here, here and here.

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