Decade-old image of Ugandan mudslide misleadingly shared as Kenyan landslide

In the wake of a landslide in Kenya’s Kimende Escarpment, about 66 kilometres from the capital of Nairobi, online posts and publications shared an image of a rescue operation and claimed it showed the disaster. But the image is from Uganda and shows a mudslide that happened more than a decade ago.

On May 15, 2024, Kenyan news site Tuko reported on a landslide in the Kimende Escarpment in Kenya’s Kiambu county, illustrating the article with an image of a rescue operation involving the Red Cross.

A screenshot of the misleading article, taken on May 16, 2024

On Facebook, Tuko captioned the same image as “Several people buried alive by landslide in Kiambu county”.

A screenshot of the misleading post, taken on May 16, 2024

The claim was repeated in another Facebook post and on X.

However, the image is unrelated to the landslide in Kenya on May 14, 2024 that buried several people alive, according to local reports (archived here).

Image from Uganda

A reverse image search revealed that the photo was first published online in 2012 in connection with a mudslide in Uganda.

“Residents of Bududa cut through trees and timber on June 26, 2012, as they try to get to victims of a mudslide in eastern Uganda, about 200 kilometres from the capital Kampala,” reads the caption of the image in the weekly newspaper, The East African (archived here).

A screenshot of a 2012 article in The East African weekly paper, taken on May 16, 2024

The picture was taken by AFP’s freelance photographer Isaac Kasamani and is available in AFP’s archives.

A screenshot of the image on AFP''s archive, taken on May 16, 2024

Kenya landslide

On May 14, 2024, the Kenya Red Cross posted on X (archived here) about a landslide in Kimende Escarpment at around 9pm East African Time.

According to the latest update by the Kenya Red Cross, the area was “cordoned off and declared a danger zone” (archived here).

“Although no fatalities have been confirmed, several people remain unaccounted for,” the Red Cross posted on X.

On May 16, 2024, local newspaper The Standard reported that the search was still on for three missing people.

The incident comes a few weeks after dozens of villagers were killed when a dam burst near Mai Mahiu in the Rift Valley, about 60 kilometres (40 miles) north of Nairobi (archived report).

The East African region has experienced weeks of torrential rains that have left a trail of deaths, displacement of people and destruction of property.

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