• 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
Train evacuated as passenger flips out during ticket check
Police at the scene in Leipzig. Photo: DPA

A regional train was evacuated in Leipzig on Wednesday after a passenger became aggressive during a ticket inspection.

Man arrested in Wuppertal as part of Spanish Isis raids
Police detain the suspect in Wuppertal. Photo: DPA

Police have arrested five suspected members of an Isis cell in Spain, Belgium and Germany that spread propaganda for the group online, the Spanish interior ministry said Wednesday.

Germans cut home energy usage by six percent in a year
Hamburg at night. Photo: DPA

The Energiewende is the German government's ambitious policy of drastically reducing carbon emissions. New figures show one remarkable success.

Merkel party MP under fire for using Nazi propaganda term
Bettina Kudla. Photo: Büro Bettina Kudla MdB/DPA.

A member of Angela Merkel's conservative CDU party is in hot water after tweeting over the weekend a Nazi propaganda term in her criticism of the country’s refugee policies.

Govt denies planning bailout for troubled Deutsche Bank
Photo: DPA

Germany's finance ministry on Wednesday said the government was "not preparing rescue plans" for Deutsche Bank, denying a newspaper report that state aid was being considered for the embattled lender.

Munich at high risk of housing bubble: report
A view of Munich. Photo: Pexels.com

Considering buying property in Munich? This report might make you think twice.

After fatal hail storm, south Germany set to see sun
The hail storm in Baden-Württemberg on Monday night left the streets looking like a winter landscape. Photo: DPA.

A hail storm in southwest Germany on Monday night led to the death of one woman, but forecasters predict a bit more sun in the days to come.

Police shoot dead father who attacked daughter's abuser
Police at the scene of the shooting in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

Berlin police on Tuesday night shot and killed the father of a young girl at a refugee home as he tried to attack a man who allegedly sexually abused his daughter.

TV celebrity criticized for claiming 70 kg is overweight
Sophie Thomalla. Photo: DPA

Model Sophie Thomalla claimed that promoting models who weigh over 70 kg sets as dangerous an example as skinny supermodels.

UK files show how Spanish spy tricked Nazis over D-Day
Photo: DPA

Secret files released in Britain Wednesday shed new light on how a Spaniard dubbed the greatest double agent of World War II tricked Germany with false intelligence about the D-Day Normandy landings.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Lifestyle
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
10 German films you have to watch before you die
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
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
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
6,545
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd