Photo shows a collapsed building after earthquake in Turkey, not Indian-administered Kashmir

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After an earthquake that hit Afghanistan was felt as far as New Delhi in India, a photo of a collapsed building was shared repeatedly in social media posts that falsely claimed it was taken in Indian-administered Kashmir. But in reality, it shows a destroyed building in the Turkish city of Kahramanmaras following the devastating earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria in February 2023.

"Three people died due to the earthquake in Karnah, Kupwara of Kashmir. May Allah protect. Ameen everyone #earthquake Delhi and Kashmir," reads a Hindi-language caption shared here alongside the photo on Facebook on March 21, 2023.

Karnah is a subdistrict of the Kupwara district in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Screenshot of the false Facebook post, taken on March 23, 2023.

The claim began to circulate online after a 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck Afghanistan, causing tremors in parts of Pakistan and India on March 21, 2023.

In a tweet on its official Twitter account on March 21, the Kupwara district police force refuted the claim that the earthquake resulted in three casualties in Karnah, saying, "The news regarding three deaths being spread on social media, in Karnah Kupwara in an earthquake is fake. Please desist from spreading fake news. DC & SSP Kupwara are already in Karnah in connection with an official visit."

People in parts of Indian-administered Kashmir were affected by the March earthquake, local media reported, but AFP found no official reports about any casualties there.

The same image was shared alongside a similar false claim on Facebook here and here as well as on Twitter.

Comments from some users on the post suggested they were misled.

"How painful is this, may Allah grant Jannat (heaven) to those killed," one user wrote.

Another commented: "People are in panic all over Kashmir due to the earthquake, it should be investigated, more dead bodies may also be buried in this building."

The photo, however, was actually taken in the Turkish city of Kahramanmaras in February.

Turkey building collapse

A combined keyword search and reverse image search found the corresponding photo here in AFP's archive on February 6, 2023.

The photo -- credited to Firat Ozdemir of Anadolu Agency -- is captioned in part: "A view of the destroyed building after earthquakes jolts Turkiye's provinces, on February 6, 2023 in Kahramanmaras, Turkiye."

The toll from the 7.8-magnitude earthquake now stands at more than 46,000 in Turkey and at nearly 6,000 in Syria, making it one of the world's 10 deadliest of the past 100 years.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the photo shared in the false post (left) and the Anadolu Agency photo (right):

A screenshot comparison of the photo shared in the false post (left) and the Anadolu Agency photo (right).

The same photo was published in multiple news reports about the Turkey-Syria earthquake here, here, and here.

The World Health Organization said it was the "worst natural disaster" in the European region for a century, AFP reported.

Turkish officials said 214,000 buildings collapsed following the quake, many of them in Kahramanmaras and Hatay.

One month on, Turkey was facing the daunting task of rebuilding flattened cities, with tens of thousands buried and many survivors barely subsisting in tents or containers.