FACT CHECK: Does This Video Show A Tsunami Hitting China During The Coronavirus Pandemic?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

A video shared on Facebook purportedly shows a tsunami making landfall in China amid the coronavirus pandemic.


Verdict: False

The video shows destruction from the March 2011 tsunami in Japan.

Fact Check:

The National Ocean Service defines tsunamis as “giant waves caused by earthquakes or volcanic eruptions under the sea.” Data from the National Tsunami Warning Center shows that tsunamis have only ever rarely impacted China’s coastal cities. One of the most recent recorded tsunamis in the region hit Indonesia’s Sunda Strait in December 2018, killing more than 420 people, according to NPR.

A video, posted on Facebook on April 20, shows water moving debris and entire buildings through what appears to be a coastal town. The caption claims the video depicts a tsunami making landfall in China, where the new coronavirus first emerged in late 2019 and has since sickened over 83,000 people.

The footage actually shows destruction from the March 2011 tsunami that caused the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant meltdown following a magnitude nine earthquake. The view of the Tokyo-based Riken Foods factory reveals that the video was taken in tsunami-devastated Japanese city of Ofunato. (RELATED: Did Walmart Introduce A Staggered Shopping Schedule By Age Amid The Coronavirus Pandemic?)

Had a tsunami hit China recently, it would have been picked up by major media outlets, yet none have reported on it. We rate this claim false.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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