Brazilian psychic stands by quake alert

A Brazilian psychic who set officials in Indonesia scrambling after he predicted a huge quake would hit Sumatra island next month reaffirmed on Wednesday that the disaster is indeed coming.

“The danger of this earthquake exists, there is no doubt,” Jucelino Nobrega da Luz (45) said by telephone from his home in Aguas de Lindoia in south-east Brazil.

“I’m glad to hear that the Indonesian authorities are preparing the population,” he said.

A spokesperson for Bengkulu province on Sumatra island, Husni Hassanuddin, on Monday told ElShinta radio that local officials were reacting to Da Luz’s forecast that a quake would rock the island on December 23.

“Though we call it a rumour, we take this information seriously. We don’t want people to blame us if it really happens,” he said, adding that evacuation drills would be held before the circled date.

No technology exists that can predict where and when earthquakes will strike. Indonesia lies in a seismically active region, making it prone to quakes.

Da Luz, however, said in a letter sent to the Indonesian embassy in Brasilia and passed on to Sumatra officials that he was supernaturally certain the quake would hit on December 23.

One Bengkulu official, Fauzan Rahim, told the state-run Antara news agency that Da Luz predicted an 8,5-magnitude quake, but did not give an exact location.

Antara reported Da Luz had sent letters correctly predicting the tsunami that devastated Indonesia in 2004, and the 8,4-magnitude quake that hit Bengkulu in September, killed 23 people.

The Brazilian, who earns his living teaching English and German, said his visions have been coming to him as an unbidden voice over the past four decades. He added: “What motivates me is to help, maybe to save lives, to minimise suffering.”

Da Luz said he spends much of his time sending out written warnings of his premonitions.

He also claimed to have alerted the United States to Saddam Hussein’s fox-hole near his hometown of Tikrit in Iraq and said he was seeking a reward for giving that information. — AFP

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