• Germany edition
 
Bomb evacuation largest since World War II
Photo: DPA

Bomb evacuation largest since World War II

Published: 30 Nov 2011 07:04 GMT+01:00
Updated: 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.”

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)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

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
False teeth of the dead: finders keepers?
Coffins awaiting incineration in a crematorium. Photo: DPA

False teeth of the dead: finders keepers?

An Erfurt court has decided not to force a 56-year old man to pay damages for more than 31 kilos of gold teeth taken from the crematorium in Hamburg where he worked between 2003 and 2011. READ  

BVB seeks cash to match Bayern
Photo: DPA

BVB seeks cash to match Bayern

Borussia Dortmund announced its plan to raise €114.4 million on Thursday in an effort to compete with Bundesliga rival Bayern Munich. READ  

Merkel tops Putin hot-line call queue
Call me maybe: The Berlin-Moscow hot-line has been busy. Photo: DPA

Merkel tops Putin hot-line call queue

"If there's somethin' strange in your neighbourhood; Who ya gonna call?" If you're Vladimir Putin, growing ever more isolated among his G8 peers, it's Angela Merkel, say the Kremlin hot-line stats. READ  

More Germans seek assisted dying abroad
A Belgian "suicide kit" including the commonly-used drug sodium pentothal. Photo: DPA

More Germans seek assisted dying abroad

A study revealed today that more people traveled to Switzerland to undergo assisted dying from Germany than from any other country in 2012. READ  

80,000 trainee jobs empty as Germans opt for uni
Photo: DPA

80,000 trainee jobs empty as Germans opt for uni

More young people are choosing university degrees over vocational training, leaving firms scrambling to find qualified new hires. READ  

Doctor arrested over medical test 'rape' photos
The Bamberg Clinic, where alleged abuse was reported. Photo: DPA

Doctor arrested over medical test 'rape' photos

Police in Bavaria have arrested a 48-year-old doctor for allegedly drugging and raping medical test volunteers, media reported Thursday. READ  

German of the Week
Nuts and bolts of being a piercing king
Rolf Buchholz, world's most pierced man. Photo: Caro von D Photografie

Nuts and bolts of being a piercing king

The world's most-pierced man, Rolf Buchholz, was just deported from Dubai, for fear of 'black magic', he says. But as shocking as many people find his body modifications, it is a genuine passion, our German of the Week explains. And who knows, he may just enchant you yet. READ  

Amazon 'should not endanger diversity'
State minister for culture and media Monika Grütters. Photo: DPA

Amazon 'should not endanger diversity'

A German minister on Wednesday threw her weight behind the authors battling US online retail giant Amazon over its alleged strong-arm negotiating tactics with publishers. READ  

Opposition calls for arms export debate
Photo: DPA

Opposition calls for arms export debate

Green Party leader Katrin Göring-Eckhardt is calling for a special session of parliament following Wednesday's announcement that Germany will break its rules and deliver weapons to an active conflict zone. READ  

Families find solace and help with seniors
Photo: DPA

Families find solace and help with seniors

When Verena Herz found out she was pregnant with twins, she had no idea what she was in for. Luckily, she was able to borrow a grandmother. The Local learns the advantages of welcoming a new grandparent into the family and why Omas and Opas say: "I tell everybody about it!" READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Culture
Sprechen Sie Deutsch? 10 reasons why you should.
Photo: DPA
Society
A German journalist shares the story of his US arrest in Ferguson
Photo: DPA
National
Berlin's senate puts the brakes on Über
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The mysteries of Berlin's abandoned theme park
Photo: DPA
Culture
How I deal with my German Hausmeister
Photo: Ingrid Eulenfan/flickr
Gallery
Nine German treats you'll want to eat right now (and one you won't)
Photo: DPA
Society
Who's getting German citizenship?
Photo: DPA
Culture
How World War I changed Germany forever
Photo: APA/DPA
Gallery
The 12 best words in Austrian German
Photo: DPA
Society
'Look at those German shanty towns!'
Photo: Europeana.de 1914 - 1918
Gallery
A German soldier's life behind WWI lines
Education
Raising the bar for law & business in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,365
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd