Spain earthquake: Rome earthquake rumour sparks mass exodus

As the earthquake hit Spain, one in five residents of Rome stayed off work and   children were kept out of school over earthquake fears following a 1915   prediction by seismologist Raffaele Bendandi that “the big one”   would strike on May 11, 2011.

Shops with signs reading 'Closed for serious family reasons'

Shops with signs reading ‘Closed for serious family reasons’ in the Chinatown district in Rome Photo: REUTERS
By Barney Henderson11:41PM BST 11 May 2011

Thousands of Romans fled the city and shops were shuttered over quake fears,   despite officials insisting they cannot be predicted and special programmes   running on Italian state TV calling for calm.

“I’m going to tell the boss I’ve got a medical appointment and take the   day off,” said barman Fabio Mengarelli. “If I have to die, I want   to die with my wife and kids, and masses of people will do the same as me.”

Over 20 tremors did strike Italy on Wednesday, but it was in Spain, around 800   miles to the west, that a devastating quake struck.

Bendandi is said to have predicted several earthquakes which hit Italy during   the last hundred years before his death in 1979 and the panic on Wednesday   was fanned by Facebook, Twitter and text messages.

Bendandi believed movement of plates and therefore earthquakes were the result   of the combined movements of the planets, the moon and the sun and perfectly   predictable.

In 1923 he predicted a quake would hit central Italy on January 2 the   following year – he was wrong by two days.


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