Fact Check

Nepal Earthquake Photo

Fauxtography: Photograph purportedly shows two children holding each other for comfort in the aftermath of the 2015 Nepal earthquake.

Published May 5, 2015

Claim:   Photograph shows two children holding each other for comfort in the aftermath of the 2015 Nepal earthquake.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, May 2015]

There is a picture of a 4 yr old brother and a 2 yr old sister,circulating on the internet, purporting to be of recent origin of 2 little Nepalese children. Is this a true pic of Nepalese children from the recent earthquake?


Origins:   Shortly after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal on 25 April 2015, heartbreaking images of the devastation it wrought began circulating online. One of the most powerful of those images, a photograph seemingly showing a pair of young siblings embracing each other for comfort, was shared by hundreds of thousands of Facebook users:

Two and a half year old sister protected by four year old brother in Nepal. Perhaps one of the most divine picture of the century !!!!


However, this photograph was neither taken in Nepal nor shot in 2015. Photographer Na Son Nguyen posted to Twitter on 2 May 2015 to explain that the photograph was actually snapped in the Ha Giang province of Vietnam in 2007:

When the BBC reached out to Nguyen, the photographer explained that this wasn't the first time that this example of his work had been shared with an inaccurate backstory:

I was passing through the village but was stopped by the scene of two Hmong children playing in front of their house while their parents were away working in the field.

The little girl, probably two years old, cried in the presence of a stranger so the boy, who was maybe three years old or so, hugged his sister to comfort her. It was both moving and cute, so I quickly made a shot.

Some people even weaved intricate tales about the kids, like their mother had died and their father left them (or that they were "two Burmese orphans" or "victims of the civil war in Syria").

This is perhaps my most shared photo but unfortunately in the wrong context.


Last updated:   5 May 2015

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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