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Italian campaign aims to assuage fears of major earthquake in Rome

City residents have been expressing fears over late seismologist’s ‘prediction’ that a devastating quake will strike Rome on 11 May 2011.

Image: ryarwood via Creative Commons

ITALIAN NATIONAL TV station RAI has been running a campaign aimed at calming Rome residents who fear the capital will be struck by a devastating earthquake as allegedly predicted by a late seismologist, Reuters reports.

Raffaele Bendandi, who died in 1979, had predicted a major earthquake would strike Rome on 11 May 2011. In 1923, Bendandi had warned an earthquake would strike the central Adriatic region of Italy on 2 January 1924. Although it struck two days later, his fame was secured and Mussolini awarded him a knighthood a few years later.

His 2011 forecast has been generating interest lately on social networking sites, leading city officials to launch a counter-campaign.

Despite the TV campaign and notices from the civil protection agency, many residents refuse to take a chance on the forecast and are planning to leave the city or spend the day with their families.

However, euronews reports that others are sceptical, with one resident saying that “where the Pope is, nothing will happen”.

Before the devastating 2009 earthquake in L’Aquila, which killed 300 people, scientist Giampaolo Giuliani had warned a quake would strike the area.

Italian seismologists and the US Geological Survey say it’s impossible to predict an earthquake decades in advance and no astrological conditions have an impact on quake activity. Tom Parsons of the USGS told the website LifesLittleMysteries that a number of different prediction tools have been tried over time, but none has proved reliable.

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