Image shows CNN report from 2022 floods in Nigeria, not Kenya in 2024

More than 220 people have died in recent weeks from flooding in Kenya after torrential rains caused devastation, blocking roads and engulfing neighbourhoods. A recent image shared on social media purportedly shows CNN international correspondent Larry Madowo standing in Kenyan floodwaters while interviewing a woman impacted by the natural disaster. But the claim is false: the photo is from a 2022 CNN report on flooding in southern Nigeria.  

“Larry Madowo this is bad for not only Kenya but Africa. You are working hard to ensure that Africa is on negative side if the coin (sic),” reads a post published on X on May 2, 2024. 

A screenshot of the false post, taken on May 7, 2024

The post includes an image of CNN journalist Larry Madowo interviewing a woman as they both stand in waist-high water while another reporter films from a small boat. 

More than 220 Kenyans have died as weeks of heavier-than-usual seasonal rains, compounded by the El Nino weather pattern, have wreaked chaos in many parts of East Africa, a region highly vulnerable to climate change (archived here). 

Kenyan-based users widely shared the photo on X, with some posts racking up thousands of views amid the ongoing humanitarian crisis. 

While some did not specifically claim the image showed the correspondent in Kenya, many users in the comments appeared to believe the posts featured Madowo in the flood-stricken East African country. 

Some hailed him for his work but others called the journalist a “puppet of Western media” for magnifying “the negative aspects of Africa”. They also accused the reporter of trying to “ruin William Ruto,” the Kenyan leader.

Madowo came under fire in mid-April when he sparred with Kenya’s transportation minister Kipchumba Murkomen, who criticised the journalist’s complaints about the state of Nairobi’s international airport (archived here and here).  

“Stop amplifying negatives and have a balanced attitude towards life and progress,” Murkomen posted on X in response to Madowo’s criticism (archived here). 

“Every time you visit your country or continent, and you amplify negativity then you build a false imbalanced image of your motherland,” the minister added. 

Although Madowo did report from Nairobi amid the ongoing weather crisis, the image used in the misleading posts is from a 2022 CNN report on flooding in Nigeria (archived here). 

Unrelated image

Using a reverse image search, AFP Fact Check found the same photo in Kenyan news reports about flooding in southern Nigeria in 2022 (archived here).  

A comparison of a 2022 Citizen Digital article (left) and the false post

Using a keyword search for “CNN 2022 flooding Nigeria,” AFP Fact Check traced a CNN news report covering a natural disaster in southern Nigeria with an image of the same woman seen in the false post (archived here). 

A comparison of a 2022 CNN article (left) and the false post

Madowo also confirmed on his X account that the image was from a 2022 report in Nigeria (archived here). 

“A picture of me waist-deep in floodwaters went viral again this week. It’s from a story we did in southern Nigeria in October 2022,” reads his post published on May 5, 2024. 

A screenshot of a post on X, taken on May 7, 2024

Madowo also shared a video captioned “IRC: Devastating floods putting Nigerians at risk for cholera, acute food security”. 

IRC is the acronym for the International Rescue Committee, which helps conflict and disaster victims (archived here). 

A comparison of Madowo’s X post (left) and the false post

In the footage, Madowo is standing in muddy water in front of the same stone structure while interviewing the woman seen in the false post. 

AFP Fact Check has debunked other false claims about the flooding in Kenya, including here and here

The date of Larry Madowo's post on X was corrected from May 5, 2022, to May 5, 2024
June 18, 2024 The date of Larry Madowo's post on X was corrected from May 5, 2022, to May 5, 2024

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