German authority evacuated thousands of people in the southern German city of Augsburg as the explosive experts diffused a large Second World War bomb. The citizens forced to leave their Christmas celebrations at home.
At 10 am on the Christmas morning about 32,000 households with 54,000 residents were forced to vacate their houses so that experts could handle the RAF bomb. Since the end of the WWII, this was the single largest evacuation operation in Germany.
Last week, on Tuesday during the construction work in the Bavarian city, the bomb was uncovered. The authorities waited until Sunday to coordinate the logistics necessary to make it safe. According to police, Christmas day was best to defuse the bomb as at this time the traffic was less and people could stay with their relatives.
Police started the evacuation at about 8 am. Almost 900 police officers and police vans with loudspeakers were involved in this operation. They urged the people to evacuate before 10 am.
The evacuation area included the city’s medieval cathedral, which famed for its boys’ choir, moved to another church. Also, the city’s Vincentinum hospital transferred their patients to other hospitals. Schools and sports facilities were opened for shelters. About 200 people came to the town’s exhibition centre and 100 to the WWK Arena sports stadium.
Police didn’t confirm about how long it will take to defuse the bomb. For the evacuation, also the public transportation was free of charge. The operation was successfully ended around 6 pm.
At the time of diffusion, a 1,500 metre exclusive zone was created for the operation in case the bomb exploded and sandbags were set up all around.
Police checked every house to ensure there were no residents before starting disarming the ‘mega bomb’.
The RAF dropped the bomb, known as blockbuster during aerial attacks on Germany in WWII. The bomb weighs 1.8 tonnes and if exploded could damage all the buildings within a one-mile radius.
In 1944, February, hundreds of RAF and US fighters targeted the city Augsburg and large parts of the city destroyed during the attack.
Finding the WWII bomb in Germany is not unusual. Unexploded bombs are regularly found which bear the legacies of the bombing campaigns by the Allied forces against Nazi Germany.
During the time of war, Augsburg, the third-largest city in Bavaria was targeted several times. According to German authorities, there are 3,000 buried bombs in the Berlin area alone.
The another biggest evacuation was in 2011, around 45,000 people had been evacuated to disarm an unexploded bomb in Koblenz, Germany.