• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Bomb evacuation largest since World War II

The Local · 30 Nov 2011, 07:04

Published: 30 Nov 2011 07:04 GMT+01:00

“Then people hid in their cellars. People were told to leave the city, but there was no organised evacuation, nothing like this,” Manfred Morschhäuser, of the city fire department told The Local.

“This is the biggest evacuation in Germany since the end of the war,” he said of efforts to move around 45,000 people from a 1.8 kilometre radius around the 1.8-tonne bomb discovered near the bank of the Rhine River.

Sandbanks are being erected around the site where the massive bomb, as well as a smaller one and a WWII smoke bomb were found thanks to the receding waters of the Rhine during this dry autumn. It was one of many dropped by the British Royal Air Force over the city towards the end of the war in raids which destroyed 80 percent of the city, Morschhäuser said.

The bomb, which is currently 40 centimetres under water, will be surrounded by a levee to create a dry space around it, enabling the disposal team to work on it on Sunday.

The city has already started getting its people to safety. That includes around 700 people in two hospitals – including some very ill people in intensive care.

“This has already started, as it takes a lot of time, but it should be completed on time – most people will be on their way to other hospitals on Friday," Morschhäuser said. “The old people’s homes, where we have around 520 people to move, will be evacuated on Sunday itself – we will have around 300 vehicles including ambulances to move them.”

Around 200 prisoners will also have to be moved from the jail, which houses people accused and convicted of crimes from theft to murder, spokeswoman Andrea Kästner told The Local.

“We mostly house people in investigative custody, so they have not been convicted, but they are accused of a very broad range of crimes, from theft to murder. Of course some of them could be considered dangerous," she said. “We are gathering information from other prisons in the state about how many spaces they have. It will be a huge operation. We have people working here who have been here since the 1970s and there has certainly not been anything like this in that time.”

She said normal prison buses would be used to take the prisoners to other jails where they would spend the night, but then be returned on Monday. When asked if there were concerns some prisoners could take advantage of the situation to try to escape, she said, “We certainly hope not.”

Buses will also be laid on for the public who need to leave their homes for the day. They have been told to be gone by 9am.

“People are very relaxed about it, even though it’s nearly half the city’s population who will have to move,” said Morschhäuser. “Many have left their houses before in smaller evacuations for other bombs. We have found 29 bombs here in the last 12 years.”

Story continues below…

This is the biggest yet though, and as well as all fire fighters and other emergency service personnel being put on duty on Sunday, volunteers from the Technisches Hilfswerk – the German emergency relief agency – will be on hand, prepared to shut off gas supply pipes should anything go wrong.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

20:17 November 30, 2011 by oiitsme
When asked if there were concerns some prisoners could take advantage of the situation to try to escape, she said, ¦quot;We certainly hope not.¦quot;

I really hope that they are taking precautions. I mean dangerous people will be on that bus and they will of course try to take advantage of the situation, which idiot wouldn't.

"We certainly hope not" is a very naive answer I must say.
10:50 December 2, 2011 by scottfree
@oiitsme

actually the answer sounds very German. I mean that the answer sounds so honest and direct that it could be misunderstood. If the question was "have you done everything in your power to prevent an escape and can you explain your preparations" the answer would have been "yes, we have done x, y, z which is everything possible". You ask them do you think the prisoners will try to escape, the answer is "I hope not". :-)
Today's headlines
Germany mulls pullout from Turkish airbase: report
A German Tornado jet at the Incirlik base in Turkey. Photo: Bundeswehr/DPA.

Germany's military is preparing to pull out from a Turkish airbase as a row between the two NATO partners escalates, Der Spiegel magazine reported on Thursday.

German man arrested over Bali meth lab
Bali. Photo: DPA

A German man has been arrested on Indonesia's Bali island for allegedly making crystal methamphetamine in a secret lab, officials said Thursday, with authorities seizing bags of powders and bottles used to produce the drug.

Giant 2-metre catfish attacks woman in Bavarian lake
A wels catfish. Photo: DPA

When a young woman went for a swim in an idyllic south Bavarian region, she got more than she bargained for.

Mayor fires refugee project intern for wearing headscarf
File photo: DPA.

A Palestinian who was hired to work as an intern on a refugee project was fired by a town hall this week because she wouldn't take off her headscarf.

President who pioneered Moscow ties dies aged 97
Former Cold War President of West Germany Walter Scheel. Photo: DPA.

Former West German president Walter Scheel, who helped pave the way for his country's rapprochement with the communist East, has died aged 97, his party's spokesman said on Wednesday.

Former East to lag behind West for years to come: study
Poverty in eastern Germany. File photo: DPA

Eastern Germany remains economically anaemic with little prospect of catching up with the rest of the country by 2030, a study published on Wednesday said.

Turkey's spy network in Germany 'thicker than Stasi's'
Photo: DPA.

Turkey has around 6,000 informants working in Germany, which experts say means they're each monitoring more people than the Stasi did in West Germany during the Cold War.

Germany's first 'intelligent' bridge to open in Nuremberg
File photo: DPA

An €11 million bridge, which is nearing completion in northern Bavaria, is set to include technology never seen before on the German Autobahn.

Stockpile food in case of attack, Germany tells citizens
Photo: DPA

Germany on Wednesday urged its population to stockpile food and water in case of terrorist or cyber attacks, as it adopted its first civil defence strategy since the end of the Cold War.

Ten injured after freight train crashes into bus in Osnabrück
The crash site in Osnabrück. Photo: DPA

A freight train crashed into a bus in Osnabrück on Wednesday morning, leaving several people badly injured, local media report.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
What's on in Germany: events for August 2016
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
8,566
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd