Haunting 'Nepal quake victims' photo from Vietnam
- 4 May 2015
- From the section Asia
This must be one of the most shared photos on social media in the wake of the earthquake in Nepal last week.
The haunting picture of two young children hugging each other, the little girl clinging to her brother as if to look for shelter from the outside world, the boy's scared eyes…
It creates a truly heart-wrenching image.
In less than a week, this photo has gone viral on Facebook and Twitter, credited as "Two-year-old sister protected by four-year-old brother in Nepal".
There have been attempts to look for the brother and sister among the earthquake's victims, even calls for donations.
Only, the photo was taken nearly a decade ago in northern Vietnam.
Its real author, Vietnamese photographer Na Son Nguyen, told the BBC: "I took this picture in October 2007 in Can Ty, a remote village in Ha Giang province".
"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."
Na Son published the photo on his personal blog and was surprised to discover three years ago that it had been shared among Vietnamese Facebook users as a photo of "abandoned orphans".
"Some people even weaved intricate tales about the kids," he said, "like their mother had died and their father left them".
It didn't stop there. He later found the photo with credits such as "two Burmese orphans" and even "victims of the civil war in Syria".
Na Son said he made efforts to clarify and to claim copyright of the photo but with little success.
"This is perhaps my most shared photo but unfortunately in the wrong context."