Back to Africa Check

Coronavirus victims? No, photo of people killed by 2004 tsunami

A photo of what seem to be dozens of dead bodies wrapped in plastic, with three people wearing masks standing among them, has been shared on Facebook in Kenya.

It’s captioned: “A second won’t cost you anything, just type ‘Thank you God for the gift of life’. COVID-19 must go.”

Does the photo show victims of the coronavirus pandemic?

Photo 16 years old

A Yandex reverse image search reveals that the photo was taken by David Longstreath of the Associated Press in December 2004

Africa Check found the photo in the AP archive.

Here the caption reads: “In this Dec. 30, 2004 file photo, Thais walk outside a Buddhist temple, near Takuapa, Thailand, where more than 1,000 bodies have been gathered.”

The victims were killed by “one of the deadliest natural disasters in world history: a tsunami, triggered by a massive earthquake off the Indonesian coast”, which left “more than 230,000 people dead in 14 countries”.

“Countries from Indonesia to India to Africa's east coast were hit, leaving shocking scenes of death and destruction.”

The photo does not show Covid-19 victims. The dead were killed by the 2004 tsunami off the coast of Indonesia. – Grace Gichuhi


Republish our content for free

We believe that everyone needs the facts.

You can republish the text of this article free of charge, both online and in print. However, we ask that you pay attention to these simple guidelines. In a nutshell:

1. Do not include images, as in most cases we do not own the copyright.

2. Please do not edit the article.

3. Make sure you credit "Africa Check" in the byline and don't forget to mention that the article was originally published on

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

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Meta'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.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.