Disinformation about a collapsed dam created chaos in Turkey’s earthquake hit southern province of Hatay on Friday night.
People in panic jumped into their cars to escape the province, causing traffic jams and accidents, while rescue works had to be halted for a while as information about a possible flood circulated in Hatay’s ancient Antakya province, almost totally flattened after Monday’s earthquakes.
The country’s Minister of Agriculture and Forestry said on his Twitter account that the claims about Yarseli dam were not true, adding that all dams and artificial lakes in the earthquake area have been regularly checked.
The province’s governor also announced that the dam is safe. “Some people with ill intentions are trying to create an atmosphere of panic by guiding people through fake news,” Governor Rahmi Doğan said.
Opposition party executives and journalists in the area also tried to calm down people, repeatedly saying that there was no risk of flooding and the dam has not collapsed.
A video showing a member of the gendamerie telling people in their cars to return and warning them that looters have been circulating due to the panic went viral on social media.
The incident is an example of fake or unverified news flowing from the city, causing deep security concerns among the earthquake victims.