54,000 evac­u­ated af­ter bomb found in Augs­burg

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD - By AGENCE FRANCEPRESSE in Ber­lin

An un­wel­come Christ­mas sur­prise in south­ern Ger­many forced the evac­u­a­tion of 54,000 peo­ple from their homes on Sun­day af­ter the dis­cov­ery of a bomb dat­ing from World War II, lo­cal au­thor­i­ties said.

It was a Bri­tish bomb that was found in the city of Augs­burg and led to the big­gest mo­bi­liza­tion in Ger­many — around 900 po­lice of­fi­cers — since the war it­self.

The 1.8-ton ex­plo­sive had been found on Tues­day dur­ing work at a con­struc­tion site in the cen­ter of the Bavar­ian city, but au­thor­i­ties planned to defuse the bomb around mid-day on Sun­day.

“To­day I ask ev­ery­one con­cerned to leave the area, if pos­si­ble by them­selves,” said Augs­burg mayor Kurt Gribi in a video mes­sage posted on the city’s Twit­ter ac­count.

Gribi also called for “each per­son to ver­ify that their rel­a­tives, par­ents and friends have found places to stay out­side the (se­cu­rity) zone... Look out for one an­other.”

The de­fus­ing could take up to five hours, ac­cord­ing to the au­thor­i­ties, who es­ti­mate that the evac­uees will not be able to re­turn home be­fore the evening.

Ad­mit­tedly this was an un­usual Christ­mas day in Augs­burg, a city spokesman told TV chan­nel n24, adding that hope­fully peo­ple would vol­un­tar­ily leave their homes given the ex­pected “force of the ex­plo­sion” dur­ing the de­fus­ing of the bomb.

More than 70 years af­ter the end of the war, un­ex­ploded bombs are still found buried on Ger­man ter­ri­tory, ves­tiges of the in­tense bomb­ing cam­paigns by the Al­lied forces against Nazi Ger­many.

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