Back to Africa Check

Photo of mass grave from New York City, not Mombasa in Kenya

A Facebook page with over 84,000 followers has shared a photo it says shows that Mombasa, Kenya’s second-largest city, is running out of burial space because of the Covid-19 pandemic

In the photo, people dressed in protective overalls and face masks are seen next to what looks like a mass grave with multiple coffins. 

“Mombasa is running out of burial space with cemeteries almost full amidst fears growing Covid-19 fatalities have overstretched the available space,” part of the caption reads.

But does the photo show a congested cemetery in Mombasa? We checked.



Photo not from Kenya


A reverse image search of the photo quickly traced its origin to Hart Island in New York City in the US. Hart Island has been used as a pauper’s graveyard or potter’s field since 1869.

The photo was published by Reuters on 10 April 2020 under the headline: “Workers bury the dead in mass grave on New York City's Hart Island amid coronavirus outbreak”. 

It is captioned: “Drone pictures show bodies being buried on New York's Hart Island where the department of corrections is dealing with more burials overall, amid the coronavirus outbreak in New York City, April 9.” 

While the photo shows mass graves for people who died from Covid-19, it was taken in the US and not Mombasa, Kenya. – Dancan Bwire




 

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”. What should you do? First, don't delete!

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Fighting coronavirus misinformation

Africa Check is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers fighting misinformation about the Covid-19 pandemic.

Learn more about the alliance here.

Further Reading