Martedì, 16 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Italian government asks earthquake experts to return to post

English
© ANSA

Rome, October 26 - The government on Friday asked
members of Italy's principal natural-disaster risk-assessment
body to return to their post after they resigned in protest
against this week's conviction of former group members for
manslaughter in connection with the 2009 L'Aquila earthquake
that killed more than 300 people.
Some of Italy's top earthquake experts resigned from their
posts on Tuesday in protest at Monday's ruling, which spurred
disbelief and dismay across the global scientific community.
Environment Minister Corrado Clini said Wednesday that he
was baffled by the ruling.
"If it was because they did not predict (the earthquake),
it would be absurd," he said. "I've never understood the
accusation and therefore I don't understand the convictions".
Sources told ANSA Friday it was Clini who asked to scrap
their resignations as a sign of "solidarity with the scientific
community on the part of the government".
Sources said Clini had already refused to accept the
resignation of Bernardo De Bernardinis, the head of Italy's
Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA), who
was convicted Monday.
On Tuesday physicist Luciano Maiani resigned as president
of the Major Risks Commission in the wake of the sentence.
He told ANSA that he had decided to resign due to the
"impossibility for the commission of being able to work with
serenity and provide the State with a high level of scientific
consultancy in such complex conditions".
The commission's vice-president, Mauro Rosi, and its
president emeritus, Giuseppe Zamberletti, also stepped down.
One of the defendants was Mauro Dolce, director of the
civil protection department's seismic and volcanic risks office,
who also on Tuesday tendered his resignation.
On Monday a L'Aquila court sentenced seven scientists, all
members of the commission at the time of the earthquake, to six
years in jail and barred them from public office for allegedly
providing "superficial and ineffective" assessment of seismic
risk and of disclosing "inaccurate, incomplete and
contradictory" information regarding earthquake danger.
The trial focused on one event in particular, in which the
commission met on March 31, 2009 in L'Aquila to examine
rumblings that had frightened residents for months.
In a memo, the experts concluded that it was "unlikely"
that there would be a major quake, though it stressed that the
possibility could not be ruled out.
One week later the 6.3-magnitude tremor hit, toppling
buildings, killing 309 people and displacing 65,000 more in and
around the city.

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