WWII Bomb Uncovered in Koblenz

From BBC News Europe, December 3, 2011:

The 1.8 tonne bomb – dropped by the Royal Air Force (RAF) – was uncovered after water levels in the Rhine fell significantly as a result of a prolonged dry spell.

Everyone living within a 2km (1.25 mile) radius of the bomb site has been ordered to leave the area.

Experts will defuse the bomb on Sunday.

It is the biggest bomb-related evacuation in Germany’s post-war history. Nearly half the population of Koblenz is affected.

River drained

Map of Germany showing Koblenz

Officials say seven nursing homes, two hospitals and a prison are also being evacuated.

Shelters with 12,000 beds have been set up in schools to accommodate those with no other place to go.

Hundreds of sandbags have been laid around the part of the riverbed where the bomb lies. On Sunday morning the remaining water will be pumped out from the area.

Only once the bomb site is dry can work to defuse the explosives begin. That is expected to happen at about 15:00 (14:00 GMT).

A second, smaller US bomb will be defused at the same time.

On Sunday, all road and rail connections to Koblenz will be suspended. Trains will not stop at the main railway station from 08:00 (07:00 GMT), and access roads into the city will be closed.

The city authorities have been distributing leaflets since Tuesday, advising residents to close up their properties and pull down shutters where possible.


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