On 12 January 2010, an M ≈ 7.0 earthquake hit Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, killing more than 200,000 people and resulting in one of the deadliest earthquakes in history. Since Haiti is among the poorest countries in the world, this catastrophe was easily traced to the inadequate building quality and the absence of modern geophysical institutions capable of assisting an equally modern civil protection organization. This view appears naïve and, at least in part, wrong.

On 6 April 2009, an M ≈ 6 earthquake brought heavy destruction to the city of l'Aquila, central Italy, and its surroundings, with a...

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