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Posted by on Oct 22, 2012 in Present, Science |

Six years in prison to the team that did not foresee the earthquake in L’Aquila

Six years in prison to the team that did not foresee the earthquake in L'Aquila

In 2009, the Italian city of L’Aquila was made world famous by the devastating that rocked (of 6.3 magnitude according to the Richter scale ) detrozando much of the medieval buildings of the city as well as bias the lives of 308 people and injuring another 1,500 people. The city is located in an area of high seismic activity and, indeed, from the fourteenth century are documented earthquakes that have rocked the city repeatedly, therefore, with this background it was not unusual jump out alarms to note any tremor or however small jolt. Indeed, a week before the big earthquake in L’Aquila, residents alerted authorities after noticing tremors in their homes although Civil Protection technicians dismissed the warning and reassured the neighbors. Given the magnitude of the disaster, the team of six scientists and civil protection official has been put on trial accused of manslaughter by negligence for their actions and, today, is considering ruled guilty and sentencing them to punishment 6 years in prison .

In late March 2009, the Government of Italy, watching the tremors that were happening in the area, decided to convene an expert committee seismologists (including the former head of the Institute of Geophysics of Italy) to assess the situation and make themselves after in the study area and measurements, concluded that there was no danger and small tremors were a prelude to one of greater magnitude, but tensions were caused by the fault on which the city sits. Conclusions that, a week later, he came down and led the team of seven people to sit in the dock in a trial that began in September last year and today has known the judgment.

No one can deny that the is quite unique and certainly will not be without controversy because, after four hours of deliberation, Judge Marco Billi found guilty at 6 scientists and civil protection official for manslaughter, disaster and serious injury for not having foreseen the great earthquake despite having been analyzing the area a week before it happened. Indeed, this is perhaps the most surprising of all this case because it would appear that it is possible to predict a major earthquake that also accused the team provide inaccurate, incomplete and contradictory.

And who is to blame for all this? Could foresee what would happen? Defense based its argument that it is not possible to predict a major earthquake, in fact, several experts have acted as witnesses to support this theory and Seismologists community has collected about 5,000 signatures supporting his teammates because, really, what they did was issue a series of assessments and risk analysis. Wrong or no risk analysis, scientists took the decision not to act (although they underestimated the risks of what might happen in response to historical earthquakes in the area) with a decision to publish the report fell on Civil Protection officer was also convicted along with six scientists.

The case can not be closed yet because, surely, the team will appeal the sentence of six years of imprisonment has been imposed and which, incidentally, is two years higher than the penalties that the prosecutor asked. The truth is that it is a case that I personally find it quite complex because there are multiple investigations and studies are underway to try to anticipate these kinds of natural disasters and, with a statement such as this case, feels a “strange precedent “that will alienate the scientific community of any type of counseling or relationship with government on issues related to the Civil Protection.

A case very surprised because, at the government level, the decision chain goes far beyond a staff and an advisory committee.

Picture: InfoSur Today

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