A powerful earthquake in mountainous central Italy knocked down whole blocks of buildings early Monday as residents slept, killing at least 270 people. Thousands were homeless. The earthquake’s epicenter was about 110 kilometers northeast of Rome near the city of L’Aquila the regional capital of the Abruzzo region, with about 70,000 inhabitants . It struck at 3:32 a.m. local time (0132 GMT) in a quake-prone region that has had at least nine smaller jolts since the beginning of April. The U.S. Geological Survey said Monday’s quake was magnitude 6.3, but Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics put it at 5.8. The last major quake to hit central Italy was a 5.4-magnitude temblor that struck the south-central Molise region on Oct. 31, 2002, killing 28 people, including 27 children who died when their school collapsed.
In the Philippines last year 53 were the eathquakes above the 5 magnitude the strongest a 6.9 magnitude on march 3 in Bicol region. Earthquakes are still impossible to predict, still there are no reliable indicators. Some scientists, however, based their forecast on emissions of radon gas. The theory goes that the gas is released as the fault line adjusts itself before a major earthquake. But impossible to predict doesn’t mean it is impossible to minimize the number of deaths and destructions. Engineers have a saying: ‘Earthquakes don’t kill people, buildings do.’ Destructive earthquakes have taught lessons in designing safe buildings. It is enough to follow laws and building codes to save lives.