Posts claiming to show flooding in Kenya and China use digitally manipulated image

Many countries in different parts of the world are experiencing torrential rains that have caused severe flooding, leading to the deaths and displacement of thousands. An image of submerged buildings is circulating in online posts with some claiming the location is in Kenya while others say it is China. While both countries are experiencing extreme weather conditions, AFP Fact Check found that the image has been digitally manipulated to combine a flood scene in Greece captured in 2023 and a landmark building in Rwanda.

On April 30, 2024, a post on X shared an image and claimed it showed devastation caused by the ongoing heavy downpour in western Kenya.

“Bungoma County is also flooded this morning, but if you have a better picture of Bungoma than this you can share,” it reads.

A screenshot of the false post, taken on May 2, 2024

Another X post shared more than 100 times and liked more than 1,300 times published the same image but claimed it was taken in China.

“This is an Act of God in China,” reads the caption.

A screenshot of the false claim; taken on May 2, 2024

In the centre of the image, a famous landmark in Rwanda is seen partly submerged. In the foreground is a white multi-storey house surrounded by trees.

Commentors in both posts were quick to identify the beehive-shaped building behind the house as the Kigali Convention Centre and dismissed the post, saying it showed flooding in Rwanda.

A screenshot of some comments from the posts, taken on May 3, 2024


East Africa has been experiencing torrential downpours in recent weeks that have devastated (archived here) parts of the region, including Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania. Hundreds of people have died.

China has also been deluged. In southern Guangdong province, heavy rains caused (archived here) a stretch of road running from Meizhou city towards Dabu county to cave in, leading to the death of more than 40 people.

The rains have been amplified by the El Nino weather pattern -- a climate phenomenon typically associated with increased heat worldwide, leading to drought in some parts of the world and heavy downpours elsewhere.

However, the image circulating online does not show flooding in Kenya, China or Rwanda.

Manipulated image

A search for Kigali’s Convention Centre located in Rwanda’s capital revealed an aerial image on the facility’s website (archived here) that does not include the white multi-storey building in the picture’s foreground but shows the beehive-domed building lit up at night.

A screenshot of Kigali Convention Centre from the facility’s website, taken on May 3, 2024

By cropping the image and conducting another reverse image search specifically of the white multi-storey building, we found it in news reports (here and here) about floodings in central Greece in September 2023 (archived here and here).

A screenshot of The Times of Israel (left) and CNN reports about flood in Greece, taken on May 3, 2024

“Floodwaters submerged houses and farms in the village of Kastro, near Larissa, in Greece's Thessaly region, September 7, 2023,” reads the captions in both reports, which attributed the image to American photo agency Associated Press (AP). 

The same image was found in AP’s online archives.

A screenshot of the image showing flooding in Greece on AP’s website, taken on May 3, 2024

AFP Fact Check has debunked other flood-related claims (see here and here).

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