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May 2014

Why is disaster risk so hard to grasp?

14 May 2014

When six Italian scientists and an ex-government official were handed six-year prison sentences for manslaughter linked to the 2009 earthquake in L'Aquila that killed 309 people, the legal arguments turned on whether a national risk committee that met just before the disaster had failed to provide public information that could have saved lives.

The prosecution accused the government of downplaying the likelihood of a damaging earthquake, while the defence argued that such events cannot be predicted accurately.

Irrespective of who was right, this case brought international attention to the