Emergency services in the northern German city of Dusseldorf are preparing to evacuate more than 4,000 people, including residents of a retirement home, as work gets under way to disarm a World War II bomb discovered during construction work yesterday.
A further 15,000 people, living within a 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) radius of the site, are being asked to stay indoors and keep away from windows, authorities said in a press release published on its website. The disposal is scheduled for 4 p.m. Roads in the vicinity are expected to remain closed until at least 5 p.m.
The 500-kilogram (1,100 pound) U.S. aircraft bomb was unearthed on the site of the former Reitzenstein army barracks, which is being redeveloped as a residential area. It’s the fourth or fifth find since last year in the northeastern district of Moersenbroich, where new apartment buildings and houses are under construction, Tobias Schuelpen, a press spokesman for the local fire service, said by phone.
Undetonated munitions from World War II continue to pose a risk almost 70 years after Germany’s capitulation in May 1945. Dusseldorf is located on the River Rhine in the western part of the Ruhr-Rhine region that forms Germany’s industrial heartland.
The five-month air raid of 1943, known as the Battle of the Ruhr, marked a turning point in the war as Allied forces attacked the region from the skies, disabling factories that armed Adolf Hitler’s military machine and destroying infrastructure.
To contact the reporter on this story: Dorothee Tschampa in Frankfurt at email@example.com