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Viral video shows flooded homes in Russian village, not Kenya’s Machakos county

IN SHORT: Kenya has been hit by devastating floods, with many houses destroyed. But a video of flooded homes circulating online was recorded in Russia, not Kenya.

Kenya has been experiencing heavy rains since March 2024, causing widespread flooding and damage to infrastructure. 

By May, the authorities had put the death toll at 291, with over 278,000 people displaced. The Kenya Red Cross warned that the situation could worsen in some parts of the country as the heavy rains continued. 

News reports from Kenya showed people wading through waist-high floodwaters on the streets and in flooded neighbourhoods. 

Against this backdrop, a video has been widely shared on WhatsApp showing houses almost completely submerged in floodwater, with only the roofs visible.

It has also been shared on other social media platforms with comments such as:

  • Towards Machakos. Before you reach small world and Daystar University.
  • Flood in Machakos, 38 miles away from Nairobi and other parts of Kenya.
  • This is the situation at Katani in Mavoko within Machakos County. Our counties need proper planning and genuine fight against raw greed.

Machakos is a county that borders the Kenyan capital Nairobi to the east. It was one of the areas affected by the floods.

But does the video show flooding in Machakos, as the posts suggest? We checked.

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Video shows flooding in Russian village

We used Google Lens to do a reverse image search on keyframes from the video. 

This revealed that the same video had been attributed to flooding in Nigeria, Burundi, South Africa and Russia. In some instances the video was accompanied by background music, while in others it contained ambient sound

Where we could hear voices, we used the microphone tool in the Google Translate app to transcribe the audio.

The tool identified the language being spoken as Russian. A machine translation of the transcription reads: “Ivanovka village residential complex Priuralye, Yaltinskaya 12 April.”

We found the area on Google Maps and noticed that the colours and shapes of the roofs of the buildings, as well as the street lights, were similar to those seen in the viral video.

The area is located in the Russian region of Orenburg, close to the border with Kazakhstan. The area was devastated by flooding after heavy rains in early April.

We searched Google for more information about the Priuralye floods and found several reports from local media. In an article by Orenburg Media, residents accused the authorities of building the houses in a flood-prone area in 2019. 

Other Russian media outlets have published videos filmed from different angles of the flooding in the neighbourhood, showing the same structures.

While Machakos has been hit by severe flooding, the video making the rounds on social media was shot in Russia, not the Kenyan county.

The video can also be seen here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

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