VERA FILES FACT CHECK: NO tsunami hitting provinces of Mindanao

A tsunami may hit several provinces in Mindanao after a 7.2. magnitude earthquake shook Davao Oriental

Facebook user 11/18/2023 False

This is not true. As of publishing, Phivolcs said there is no tsunami threat to the Philippines.

A graphic circulating online and on private messaging platforms is claiming that a tsunami will strike several provinces of Mindanao. This is not true.

The graphic emerged as early as Nov. 18 and showed a photo supposedly of a huge wave about to submerge a nearby building. Part of the text on the image read:

Tsunami warning ibinabala sa pilipinas at Indonesia kasunod ang pagyanig ng 7.2 magnitude na lindol sa karagatan ng davao oriental

(Tsunami warning given to the Philippines and Indonesia following the trembling brought by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in the waters near Davao Oriental).”

The text further claimed that Caraga and Davao regions will be affected by the tsunami. 

This is not true. As of publishing, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said there is no tsunami threat to the Philippines.

Phivolcs’ most recent tsunami update was issued around 6 a.m. on Nov. 28. Even when a magnitude 6.8 earthquake shook Sarangani and nearby areas on Nov. 17, the agency said the quake posed no risk of creating a tsunami.

The photo shown in the untrue graphic was originally taken in Sydney, Australia in 2015 by local photographer Richard Hirst. It featured a massive cloud formation, not a tsunami.

Note: Click on the photo to view its original source

According to news reports, the photo showed a wave of clouds that brought severe thunderstorms and intense heavy rains in the country that year.

A cursory search online showed that the circulating false graphic has been deceiving people on the Web since December 2018 when a different earthquake struck Davao Oriental. Phivolcs indeed raised a tsunami alert that year but canceled it a day after further observation.

The graphic emerged as Mindanao continues to experience aftershocks caused by the recent 6.8 magnitude earthquake. Phivolcs Director Teresito Bacolcol said at least 113 aftershocks were recorded by their agency.

At least one FB user shared the graphic online, garnering over 50 reactions, 40 comments and 295 shares.

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(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)