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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Indonesia prepares after psychic 'predicts 8.5 magnitude quake'

JAKARTA, 19 November 2007 - Officials in the province of Bengkulu in western Sumatra said on Monday that they were taking precautionary measures after a psychic from Brazil warned that a powerful earthquake was to strike the area next month. Husni Hassanuddin, a spokesman for the province, said that the Indonesian embassy in Brazil had sent a letter from a 'professor' predicting that an earthquake would strike the island on December 23.

"During a recent meeting with all senior officials in Bengkulu, we determined a number of evacuation shelters for residents, especially those who live in the coastal areas," he told. He said there would be several evacuation drills in anticipation of December 23. "Though we call it a rumor, we take this information seriously. We don't want people to blame us if it really happens," he said.

Another official from Bengkulu, Fauzan Rahim, told to Antara that he had seen a copy of the letter from Jucelino Nobrega da Luz, in which he predicted a 8.5 magnitude earthquake on Sumatra, without giving an exact location. There are ten provinces on the island. Antara states that da Luz had also sent a letter in 1998 in which he warned for the 2004 tsunami as well as a warning that he issued for last Septembers 8.4 magnitude earthquake in Bengkulu.

A seismologist from the Indonesian Meteorology and Geophysics Agency told that no technology in the world could predict an earthquake. "We have told people repeatedly that we cannot predict a quake. If there's information about the date on which a quake will occur, it is surely untrue," he said.

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