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BBC Admit Their Pakistan Floods Claim Was False

November 13, 2022
tags: ,

By Paul Homewood


h/t Tim


There’s been an interesting follow up to this story about the Pakistan floods at the end of August:




Readers will recall that the claim that one third of the country was under water immediately set off my BS detector, and I did a full analysis here, totally debunking it.

But just a couple of days after my piece, the BBC’s More or Less radio programme also looked at the claim, after some viewers had complained:


They interviewed an environmental scientist who checked out what the various satellite records indicated. His conclusion was that the true figure was that about 10% of the country had been affected by floods, and much of this was short term.

In fact, all the BBC had to do was what I did in a few minutes, and check what NASA were reporting:

It was plainly evident that nothing like a third of the country had flooded. Indeed a simple look at the map would have shown them that much of Pakistan is either mountainous or desert, which would be impossible to flood.

They could also have checked with the UN disaster agency, OCHA, who were publishing regular reports on the flooding.

According to them, the area affected was 75000 sq km, or 9% of the country:


In fact, these are precisely the sort of checks the BBC should have carried out before making their absurd claim. One which anybody with an ounce of common sense, or integrity, would have immediately suspected was wrong.

It is doubly ironic that the BBC’s defence was that the one third claim had been widely reported across the media. This shows just how utterly corrupt most of the media is nowadays.

  1. Brian Mead permalink
    November 13, 2022 5:35 pm

    I really don’t know why I keep paying my TV license to these propagandists.

    • HotScot permalink
      November 13, 2022 10:41 pm

      My wife watches the BBC, she pays for it so I have no choice other than to be on here reading factual news. Thankfully.

      Other than for watching motorsports or rugby (and I can do that on my laptop) I would have no use for a TV.

      Sadly I still have to suffer the licence to legally watch live sport.

      • bobn permalink
        November 14, 2022 1:50 am

        Just stop paying. You’ll get snotty letters but nothing else. dont pay until they tell the truth. Thus never pay.

      • Howard Wilson permalink
        November 14, 2022 4:51 am

        Its great without a tv licence. I opted out a year ago. You make declaration that you dont watch any live tv, get a refund for months they have taken in advance and never look back. Life is far better without all the brain-dead rubbish on television and i refuse to give that stinking organisation a penny due to their constant lying and extreme bias.

      • November 14, 2022 11:12 am

        Unfortunately, my wife occasionally watches live TV and will not allow me to refrain from paying. I could cancel payment, but she would just pay out of her own account.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        November 14, 2022 11:42 am

        You get letter about every 3 months, you will get some that claim they have opened an investigation, others will say ‘will you be in on…’ but they never turn up then, and in the 10 years since the Ross-Brand scandal, they have actually called 3 times and I was out every time. With everything on catch-up now there is no need to watch broadcast TV. I was watching our great T20 World Cup win last night. OK, yes I knew we had won and probably would not have bothered otherwise.

    • bobn permalink
      November 14, 2022 1:51 am

      I dont know why you pay either. Defy them – just stop!

  2. P Dean permalink
    November 13, 2022 5:40 pm

    Just another case of misinformation from the BBC; don’t worry about fact checking, that would spoil their story!

    • Curious George permalink
      November 13, 2022 10:46 pm

      That happens when BBC gets paid regardless of quality.

  3. that man permalink
    November 13, 2022 5:48 pm

    “This shows just how utterly corrupt most of the media is nowadays.”
    Corrupt, incompetent, or both? Corruption implies at least some degree of thought, whereas incompetence involves mindless copy-and-paste journalism.

    Probably a combination of both, weighted towards corruption on the part of the BBC, which has access to considerable resources. Anyway, keep up the good work Paul —I studied your original article on this.

    • Matt Dalby permalink
      November 13, 2022 10:35 pm

      Looking at the map it’s possible that a third of Sindh province was flooded, and that a mistranslation of what a government official said led to the claim that it was a third of the whole country. However this doesn’t excuse the BBC for failing to undertake basic journalistic checks rather than just rush to publish a story that seems to confirm their belief in climate apocalypse.

      • DAVID TALLBOYS permalink
        November 13, 2022 10:46 pm


      • W Flood permalink
        November 14, 2022 12:05 pm

        Mr Tallboys, is your middle name Clive?

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      November 14, 2022 9:16 am

      Most journalists these days admit they are activists and those that don’t admit it are liars. Just look at where they go if they leave the BBC or the papers – Green groups or Labour groups. They have no qualms about publishing anything that furthers their cause and don’t care if it’s true or not – their cause is true so everything that helps that is true. And since there’s absolutely no chance they are wrong, there’s no reason to check things for accuracy – it doesn’t matter if its objectively correct because its directionally correct.

    • November 14, 2022 11:13 am

      Getting the lie out to the public is the important point. Enough will believe it without question. Retractions or changes at a later date are irrelevant to the story.

  4. Penda100 permalink
    November 13, 2022 5:55 pm

    It’s not about providing accurate information, it’s not about checking facts, it’s all about propaganda. If the story fits the message, run with it and to hell with checking. If somebody complains, admit the “error” but by then the message is out there and all people will remember is “that one-third of Pakistan was under water”.

    • tym fern permalink
      November 13, 2022 8:59 pm

      Just like Indigo Rumbelow, the hysterical Just Stop Oil fanatic, who was interviewed by Sky’s Mark Austin. Watch it, it’s laughable!

      • Matt Dalby permalink
        November 13, 2022 10:57 pm

        Indigo’s failure to answer the question of whether or not JSO’s tactics were the right ones was laughable. However on the whole I found the interview deeply depressing as Indigo was allowed to make all sorts of evidence free claims without once being challenged as to whether or not they were correct, indeed Mark Austin merely agreed with her that we’re facing a climate emergency.
        No politician would be allowed to make baseless claims when being interviewed without them being challenged. It’s about time eco zealots were subjected to the same tough questioning that any one else being interviewed on TV would face.

  5. Adam Gallon permalink
    November 13, 2022 6:55 pm

    This falsehood was repeated by Ashok Sharma at Carry on Partying 27.
    I wonder where the BBC got it from?

  6. Harry Passfield permalink
    November 13, 2022 7:04 pm

    C’mon, fair’s fair. I’m absolutely sure that BBC will broadcast this correction across the nation as blatantly as they did the lie.
    (That said. there should be a law that says that broadcasters who are shown to have lied must publish the retraction – the flouting of which should be a draconian PERSONAL fine on the original Editor.

  7. Mark Hodgson permalink
    November 13, 2022 7:08 pm

    So much for the BBC Climate Misinformation team. It seems the only “facts” they check are ones they don’t like, or which don’t fit the agenda. We’ve long known that the BBC is more interested in climate propaganda than in accurately reporting climate news. What depresses me is that NOAA, who one might have thought (and certainly hoped) would report climate news accurately, also pushed the Pakistan flooding distortion (by the way, its monthly headlines, which deliberately emphasise anything worrying about the climate, also suggest that it’s anything but dispassionate on the subject):

    “Earth had its 6th-warmest August on record
    Antarctic sea ice set record low; Northern Hemisphere saw its 2nd-hottest summer”

    Take a look at the world map in this report, and note what it says about Pakistan:

    About one-third of Pakistan was under water in August due to record-breaking rainfall from an unusually strong monsoon season….

    I can no longer take them seriously.

    • November 14, 2022 8:21 am


      The ***est on record is a particular aggravation of mine.
      It is completely disingenuous to claim anything like that when records have only been held for a minute time span of the globe’s age and that evidence is available that earlier events exceeded the ‘record’. I.e., ‘records show’ is a meaningless phrase.

  8. John Palmer permalink
    November 13, 2022 7:10 pm

    Just a bunch of ‘merchant bankers’, really!
    Would that I could dump them altogether, but my missus lives on BBC R4, sadly – even though I regularly debunk the silly climate claims and their amazing bias(S). There you go!

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      November 14, 2022 8:58 am

      You don’t need a TV licence to listen the radio

  9. November 13, 2022 7:11 pm

    Baroness Brown made exactly the same 30% claim about a week or so ago on the Today Programme.
    Naturally, this went unchallenged.
    As long as you’re talking the BBC’s book you can say whatever you like.

    • dennisambler permalink
      November 14, 2022 9:51 am

      Baroness Brown of the CCC is furthering the agenda which pays her handsomely, including the £40k small change she gets as a director of Orsted.

  10. Jack Broughton permalink
    November 13, 2022 8:38 pm

    The tragedy is that the various and oft-repeated lies even when redacted have done their job of keeping the fear-campaign stoked up. The real wonder is that despite 30 years of corporate dishonesty people are still not convinced about the dangers and do not want to spend their hard-earned savings on their ponzy schemes.

  11. November 13, 2022 9:39 pm

    Is Global Warming alarmistm #based in the real world or the PR-world.
    The claim “one third of Pakistan was underwater” is THEATRE so of course activists ran with it
    As I search back and make screenshots of accounts that made the claim
    I see XR Just Stop Oil, Amnesty and their boss, Greenpeace, UK MPs, BBC’s John Simpson etc.

  12. MrGrimNasty permalink
    November 13, 2022 9:53 pm

    That’s how the climate scam works, the lies are generated by a central propaganda unit and fed to all the credulous complicit MSM outlets at the same time by an organised network. So of course it was widely reported, every blatant climate lie is.

  13. Gamecock permalink
    November 13, 2022 10:02 pm

    BBC deals in sanctimony. Facts will not penetrate their shields.

    • November 18, 2022 10:31 am

      Just so; it’s no more a “lie” than the tooth fairy or Santa Claus is a “lie”. It’s just something people say that seems to fit the occasion.

  14. November 13, 2022 11:04 pm

    LBC last week had a Climate Reparations discussion
    Presenter Nick Ferrari made it clear the “a third underwater” claim was absurd

    Many <a href="; berated him and LBC on Twitter
    saying of course it was TRUE , cos the media reported it

    eg 1 Nick, that call was so embarrassing.
    One third of Pakistan is underwater.
    This can be easily found out on Google.
    Nicks attitude sums up the problem perfectly
    and shows why we need them JSO guys out on the motorway each day

    eg2 Gosh, that poor man! Maybe “logic” should be applied to releasing such headlines?
    It’s in the Independent
    “Pakistan floods: Third of country under water with half a million forced out of homes”

    eg 3 one third of Pakistan is underwater
    …. the issue is that you don’t like facts.
    That however doesn’t stop it from being true.
    Why do I have to fact check Nick Ferrari on LBC?
    (linked to Independent article)

    • Mark Hodgson permalink
      November 14, 2022 8:01 am


      The problem with the zealots is that they believe what they want to believe. Logic long since went out of the window. The 1/3 or 30% claim was always absurd, as a moment’s thought would demonstrate. The problem is they don’t think – they believe. It’s particularly sad and worrying, though, that the lie was allowed to gain credence because the (sadly) still-trusted BBC gave it a push.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      November 14, 2022 9:04 am

      The absurd thing is those very same people spend half their life denouncing lying media and politicians when what’s being said doesn’t suit them. The argument “its on the Internet” doesn’t work then!

    • November 14, 2022 9:52 am

      OK that first link again
      Many berated him and LBC on Twitter.

      As I scan back through Twitter
      I see originally the Pakistani politician made the claim on TV , probably mis-speaking meaning “one third of the farmland in the countryside for this particular area”
      But since it’s a great theatrical claim libmob media ran with it : CNN, DW etc.
      Then the charity Disasters Emergency Committee DEC used it, so that was just quoted by MPs and The British High Commissioner to Pakistan.
      But it’s the alarmist activist orgs and their mates who are still repeating it months later.

  15. Sandy McClintock permalink
    November 14, 2022 12:01 am

    Thanks for your tireless (?) efforts to keep the climate zealots accountable. The BBC needs a fact checking department with suitable financial inducements to prevent the BS getting out in the first-place. How about fines for those caught spreading BS? 😉

  16. Terry permalink
    November 14, 2022 2:48 am

    Things always have a way of self correcting, and it will only be a matter of time before Governments start looking very carefully at the claims of flooding, heat waves etc, when the issue of COMPENSATION becomes home to bite them fiscally in the ass. Perhaps they will be ask their scientists and media to have a closer look at the way they are portraying the actual data.

  17. November 14, 2022 7:04 am

    This lying, not checking and covering up is standard practice at the BBC. It is part of the BBC’s DNA. See this:
    “Is that true or did you hear it on the BBC?”

  18. ancientpopeye permalink
    November 14, 2022 7:31 am

    Whoever would suspect the upright and factually unbiased BBC would do a thing like that?

  19. Harry Passfield permalink
    November 14, 2022 9:22 am

    When I look at the population spread – which is, inevitably, based along the Indus – I wonder if the BBC had a scientific report that said that 30% of the population was affected by flooding. I suspect if that was the case the BBC would leave out the reference to population as it was a bigger story to say the ‘country’….

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      November 14, 2022 9:38 am

      I think the origin of the lie was when a Pakistani minister said that 30% of the FARMland in ONE DISTRICT was under water.
      Then idiots like Carbon Brief started spreading the story that 30% of the country was, and the propaganda muck spreader was fired up.

  20. Bloke down the pub permalink
    November 14, 2022 12:45 pm

    How much of Pakistan has been deforested? I bet that figure will give a good idea of why flash floods might increase.

  21. Ben Vorlich permalink
    November 14, 2022 12:55 pm

    In my experience if you complain to the BBC their response is always “scientists say” aka My dad’s bigger than your dad

  22. Bernard Taylor permalink
    November 14, 2022 1:39 pm

    The BBC itself debunked the claim that a third of Pakistan was flooded on the Radio 4 programme ‘More or Less’. Despite this Justin Rowlatt subsequently quoted this figure on the 10 o’clock News on the 6th of November. He must have known about the report on ‘More or Less’ but he chose to propagate the lie anyway. I have complained to the BBC. I know I was wasting my time but I did anyway.

  23. November 14, 2022 4:37 pm

    Grist repeated it today…

    ‘The least-industrialized countries in the world have argued that they’ve done little to cause climate change but are the most affected by climate-fueled disasters, like the recent floods in Pakistan that left a third of the country underwater.’

    Grist links to a 3 November 2022 Bloomberg article which says much the same: ‘A recent string of extraordinary disasters, such as this summer’s flooding in Pakistan, which left a third of the country flooded for weeks, have brought urgency to the debate. ‘
    – – –
    The lie that won’t die 🙄

  24. November 14, 2022 10:30 pm

    A few were making speculative tweets about “a third”
    eg this Turkish one on Aug 27

    Aug 29 Jess Phillips MP speculated 3 hours before AFP reported the Pakistani Climate Minister had made the “one third claim”

    After the claim was made ran around repeating it
    Aug 29-30 And it seems the most extreme activist tweets were very quick out of the blocks with repeating the claim
    Like Richard Burgon, Zarah Sultana MP,  Nadia Whittome MP,  Angela Rayner , Deborah Meaden , Lewis Goodall
    Mary Creagh

    but here the European Space Agency did too
    and when 2 people called them out they ignored them

    Celebs tweeted it Neil Gaimann

    Then charities like Cafod and DECtoo ..then some other MPs piled in

    Be interesting to see if famous folks called it out early.

  25. November 15, 2022 12:04 am

    Actually Paul’s headline is clickbait
    cos the the problem is the MAIN bbc dont admit it’s false.
    2 people tweeted these

    @SimonBunce63 to @mattwridley
    Astonishingly, the BBC’s “climate editor” Justin Rowlatt repeated this known falsehood
    on the News At Ten on BBC1 on Nov 6th.


    I see that @BBCNews still has this false story on its website,
    with no acknowledgement that it is incorrect.
    Perhaps @rebeccaskippage the BBC ‘Disinformation Editor’ could put things right
    or doesn’t the BBC police its own disinformation

  26. November 15, 2022 8:50 am

    There’s also a more general problem…

  27. November 15, 2022 11:21 pm

    Sorry drilling down to the truth takes time so I have to adjust to timeline

    #1 Around Aug 27 at least 3 accounts tweeted that it seemed one third was underwater

    #2 Aug 29 morning
    Guardian : “Pakistan … monsoon COULD put a third of country underwater”
    a line it attributed “climate minister (Sherry Rehman)
    warned that one-third of Pakistan *could* be underwater by the time this year’s “monster monsoon” recedes”
    (Jess Phillips tweeted that Guardian headline)

    #3 Aug 29th lunchtime : Sherry Rehman is appearing on various media saying
    “Now MORE that a third of Pakistan is underwater”
    and she tweeted it in words
    So it was not a mistake, she said on multiple networks
    Then media all ran with that phrase
    A few days later on other TV another minister repeated it

    #4 Then the legend was established and the usual lefty activists inc BBCnews have parroted ever since
    .. Whereas other people said from the beginning it was false, but course the flooding was bad enough to need lots of aid.

    So it seems to me the “one third” narrative was around, probably in the Climate Minister’s office first with “could”.
    Then they realised it had great fund raising potential.
    “More than a third” came out somehow on 29th lunchtime broadcasts, and she just stuck with it.
    As I said in ClimateCult world PR-STORYTELLING
    counts more than truth.

    … Hockey stick graphs, power phrases like “Climate Crisis. “Extreme weather”, “Climate Deniers”, etc

    • November 16, 2022 12:51 am

      There’s more she immediately replied to her own tweet and made another claim
      “One small town in Sindh received over 1700 MM of rain in one day”
      FakeNews actually that day the year tally reached 1700mm

      The day after she did more FakeNews
      went on Channel4, saying Imran Khan was a baddie cos his telethon was just for his 2 states.
      His supporters screamed liar at her on Twitter, cos it was actually a full national telethon.

      So seems she is steeped FakeNews world

  28. November 16, 2022 10:55 pm

    Update 8 on Pakistan Thirdgate
    Guardian did another story on Thu 1 Sep 2022
    Urgent aid appeal launched as satellite images show a third of Pakistan underwater
    “as new satellite images appeared to confirm that a third of the country is now underwater” *
    “Those pictures appear to confirm the Pakistani government’s assessment that more than a third of the country”**

    What’s going on ?
    The article is not news it is PR for the Disaster Appeal
    “one third underwater” is a great PR line so they use it.

    They embellish the claim by citing a credible source ESA European Space Agency

    But this is a common NASA trick
    Both institutions are probably scientific
    but the NASA website is a PR operation full of garbage
    So when people quote the NASA website they are quoting PR
    Seems the same with ESA here.
    They write the third claim like this
    “since mid-June has led to more than a third of the country now being underwater, *according to a Pakistani government official*. ”
    The ESA article is very short, that is the only bit that mentions a third,
    The map DATA doesn’t . Cos despite the * and ** the Guardian’s claims
    the actual photo in the article is as Paul has above
    It does NOT show mostly flooded
    rather the vast vast majority is not flooded.
    A truthful headline “90% of Pakistan not underwater”, wouldn’t raise much money”

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