The German city of Koblenz was evacuated of nearly half of its residents to diffuse a WWII era bomb that was found at the bottom of river Rhine. It was discovered after water levels dropped to low in the river due to dry November. The 10 feet long and 1.8 tons bomb, an HC-4000, is packed with more than 3,000 pounds of explosives. It was believed to have been dropped by the British Royal Air Force during World War II.
Some 45,000 residents — nearly half of the city’s total population of 106,000 — will be forced to leave the area. That includes two hospitals, seven retirement homes and the jail. To aid in the operation, the city has organized some 900 people and 350 vehicles to ferry residents to safety.
Authorities are building a temporary dam of some 350 sandbags around the bomb, currently covered by about 40 centimeters (16 inches) of water. A crane commissioned to build the dam was put in place on Tuesday, fire department spokesman Manfred Morschhäuser told the German news agency DAPD. The area will then be pumped free of water so the bomb can be defused.
In the meantime, the fire department has established a telephone hotline. “Several hundred callers are getting in touch each day with their questions and problems,” Morschhäuser said.
Each household included in the evacuation will be notified via flier, he said. “And on Sunday we’ll go ringing from house to house,” he added. Emergency workers need a 1.8-kilometer (1.1-mile) radius buffer zone to ensure safety.
Further bomb discoveries along the riverbed are expected to continue due to the low water levels, authorities said.
World War II era bombs are not uncommon in Germany.
More than six decades after the war, finding unexploded Allied bombs is still common. Authorities believe there are still some 3,000 bombs buried beneath Berlin alone, and World War II devices are regularly discovered in the capital during construction work.
In June 2010, a 500-kilogramme Allied bomb exploded and killed three sappers and seriously injured two others in the city of Göttingen as they prepared to defuse it.Source: www.thelocal.de
Hopefully, the diffusal process of this bomb goes smoothly.