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SSA Releases Statement on Prosecution of Italian Seismologists

30 Jun 2011

The Seismological Society of America has released the following statement:

We are deeply concerned to learn that members of our society and their colleagues have been indicted by the Prosecutor’s Office in L’Aquila in connection with the tragic L’Aquila earthquake of 6 April 2009. The occurrence of this disastrous earthquake unfortunately brought into the harsh light of public scrutiny both the high level of uncertainty in the science of short-term earthquake forecasting and the lack of a public policy framework in Italy (and, for that matter, many other parts of the world) for providing short-term guidance to the communities, populations, and infrastructure at risk.

Rather than pursuing unprecedented legal action against members of the seismological community, SSA urges public officials and community leaders to work to improve the way earthquake risks are communicated to the public. We also urge continued proactive efforts to support earthquake science and engineering and to establish and implement local and national programs in earthquake preparedness and risk mitigation. Education, awareness, and preparedness of the public officials and the general public, coupled with sound construction practices and retrofitting of older structures are currently the best available approaches for mitigating the effects of future earthquakes.

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