FACT CHECK: Does This Video Show A Tsunami In Tonga?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

A video shared on Twitter allegedly shows a tsunami in Tonga following the eruption of a volcano near the country.

Verdict: False

The video was taken in December 2021 in Indonesia. The video features a river known for high tidal bores.

Fact Check: 

A volcanic eruption triggered a large tsunami that impacted Tonga in January 2022, according to BBC News. Officials called the event an “unprecedented disaster” that left at least three dead and caused severe disruption due to ashfall and other effects.

One social media user uploaded a video to Twitter Jan. 15 allegedly showing the tsunami in Tonga. A man can be seen punching a tree, while others run uphill before the waves breach the banks. “Unexpected #Tsunami #HungaTongaHungaHappi #Tsunami #Tonga #Earthquake,” reads the tweet.

Through a reverse image search, Check Your Fact found that the video appeared on YouTube Dec. 6, 2021 – an entire month before the volcanic eruption and tsunami. The clip featured in the tweet can be seen near the end of the YouTube video.

One of the captions in the video’s description tags “#sungaikampar,” which is a river in Indonesia’s Riau province, according to Lonely Planet. The river is known for its large tidal bores, one of which is known as “The Bono,” according to Surfer Today. The river serves as a popular attraction for surfers around the world, the outlet reported.

“This video was taken by my younger brother the place is on the ogis beach Indonesia, Riau, Pelalawan, Teluk Meranti,” the YouTube account said in the comments section in response to a question about where the video had been taken. (RELATED: No, This Video Does Not Show Flooding From China’s Three Gorges Dam)

This is not the first time misinformation related to the recent disaster in Tonga has been shared on social media. Check Your Fact recently debunked a viral video on Facebook that claimed to show the “exact moment” the recent volcanic eruption in Tonga took place but in reality showed a digital simulation of a volcanic eruption.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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