All roads lead out of Rome as earthquake prediction empties Rome
Italians will evacuate Rome on Wednesday over fears that a giant earthquake is coming following a seismologist's 1915 prediction that "the big one" would hit the capital on May 11, 2011.
Businesses have reported requests from one in five people to have time off work and many are also keeping children away from school and heading to the beach or country for the day. Romans are taking it so seriously that local newspapers have even been publishing survival guides with tips of what to do if the ground starts to tremble.
The panic has been fanned by Facebook, Twitter and text messages about the 1915 prediction by Raffaele Bendani, who also forecast other earthquakes that have hit Italy in the past 100 years.
Massimo La Rocca, the headmaster of a school in the Trastevere district, said: "We have had quite a few parents calling in and saying they will not be sending their children in. I've told them the school will remain open and there is nothing to be scared about but they are adamant - although this is not a justifiable absence for a pupil."
Bendandi, who died in 1979, believed the movement of tectonic plates and therefore earthquakes were the result of the combined movements of the planets, the moon and the sun and were perfectly predictable. In 1923 he predicted a quake would hit central Italy on Jan 2 the following year. He was wrong by two days.
He was even honoured by the Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini - and ordered not to make any more predictions on pain of exile because officials feared he would cause panic. Modern-day seismologists have been quick to say his theories are without any scientific proof. Alessandro Amato, of Italy's National Geophysical and Volcanology Institute, said: "There is absolutely no evidence to say that an earthquake will hit Rome on 11th May and we have told that to the hundreds of people who have called. There is a possibility that on the day in question the country will have an average of 30 or so tremors but that is normal."
An estimated 20 million people live at risk from earthquakes in Italy. Two main fault lines cut across the country and memories are still vivid of the 2009 earthquake in the city of L'Aquila, north of Rome, which killed 300 people.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
See what happens when I get sacked? BWA HA HA HAAAAA!!
Taken from the Ottawa Citizen