Italian Officials: Earthquake Will Not Destroy Rome Wednesday, Despite Prediction

Officials in Italy are scrambling to assure nervous Italians that Rome will not be destroyed by an earthquake Wednesday, despite the purported prediction of a seismologist.Self-taught seismologist Raffaele Bendandi, who died in 1979, is rumored to have predicted that a giant earthquake would flatten the Italian capital on May 11, 2011.Bendandi successfully predicted other earthquakes. But experts who studied Bendandi’s writings say he never made such a prediction about Rome.This has not stopped some Romans from closing their shops, locking up their homes and fleeing the city.Italian officials have posted reassurances on government websites that earthquakes are very hard to predict and that Rome is not in a major earthquake zone. They also have set up toll-free telephone information lines.The last major earthquake to hit Italy was a 6.3-magnitude quake that shook the central city of L’Aquila in 2009, killing 300 people. Rome, about 120 kilometers to the west, felt the earthquake but without any damage. – Voanews