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VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Video shows 2013 storm surge, NOT tsunami after most recent Mindanao quake

Clip shows a tsunami that came after a magnitude 7.4 earthquake jolted parts of Mindanao in December 2023

Facebook page VS Viral Studio 2023-12-03 False

VERA Files Fact Check found the earliest retrievable copy of the clip uploaded by an FB page on Nov. 12, 2013. A YouTube channel also uploaded a copy on Nov. 14, 2013. Both videos’ captions claim that the clip is of a storm surge in Leyte during Super Typhoon Yolanda.

A Facebook (FB) page uploaded a 10-year-old clip of a storm surge, passing it off as a tsunami after the magnitude 7.4 quake that jolted parts of Mindanao just days ago. 

The highest ocean wave recorded following the Dec. 2, 2023 earthquake reached a height of 0.64 meter on Mawes Island in Hinatuan, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS). What the video clip showed was a storm surge battering an area in Leyte during Super Typhoon Yolanda’s (international name: Haiyan) onslaught in 2013. 

Posted on Dec. 3, the one-minute and 43-second video shows a storm surge breaking the walls of what looks like an elementary school and flooding the place. 

It bore the caption: 

“Tsunami Southern Philippines after 7.6 Magnitude EarthQuake December 3 2023. 7.6 magnitude Davao City, Surigao, Maguindanao, Gen San, Saranggani Bay, more vids here.” 

VERA Files Fact Check: This video does not show a tsunami after the magnitude 7.4 quake that struck areas in Mindanao days ago. It shows a storm surge in Leyte during Super Typhoon Yolanda’s onslaught in 2013.

VERA Files Fact Check found the earliest retrievable copy of the clip uploaded by an FB page on Nov. 12, 2013. A YouTube channel also uploaded a copy on Nov. 14, 2013. Both videos’ captions claim that the clip is of a storm surge in Leyte during Super Typhoon Yolanda.

A Nov. 13, 2013 ABS-CBN news report also carried the clip. The report confirms that it shows high seawater levels spawned by the super typhoon flooding an elementary school in Leyte. 

Note: Click on the photo to view its original source.

Shortly after the 7.4 quake jolted Surigao del Sur and a large part of Mindanao, PHIVOLCS issued a tsunami warning strongly advising coastal communities in Surigao del Sur and Davao Oriental to immediately evacuate.

PHIVOLCS lifted the tsunami warning the following day, with the last recorded tsunami wave in the Philippines occurring at 2:52 a.m. at Hinatuan-Bislig Bay Station on Mawes Island.

According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council’s Dec. 4 situational report, 1,845 persons from Region 11 were pre-emptively evacuated. It also recorded several aftershocks including five earthquakes measuring magnitude 6.0 and above.

 VERA Files Fact Check has debunked other old videos falsely described as recent natural disasters in the Philippines. (Read Circulating video of Taal Volcano eruption NOT taken in 2023)

The false video uploaded by the FB page VS Viral Studio (created on May 14, 2021) has 338 reactions, 22 comments, 454 shares and 19,000 views as of writing.

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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.)