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.