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03 Sep 2017

Germany: Unexploded bomb from World War-2 found, 65,000 residents evacuated

A 1.4-tonne unexploded British bomb left over from World War-II was found at a building site in Frankfurt, prompting the largest post-war evacuation in Germany.

Authorities forced 65,000 residents to leave their homes even as patients at nearby hospitals were evacuated, in preparation for the bomb's controlled explosion.

Every year, thousands of unexploded bombs from the war are still found across Germany.

In context

Germany threatened by thousands of unexploded WW-II bombs
Premature babies, intensive care patients evacuated from 2 hospitals


Premature babies, intensive care patients evacuated from 2 hospitals

Authorities in Frankfurt, Germany's financial hub, said over 100 patients, including two premature babies and people in intensive care, were evacuated from hospitals.

Officials warned that the entire street could be flattened by an uncontrolled explosion of the bomb.

The evacuation area includes Germany's central bank which houses half the country's gold reserves.

Police said anyone refusing to evacuate would be arrested.

Other incidents

Kindergarten was evacuated after child finds and brings bomb

On September 2, around 22,000 people were evacuated in the city of Koblenz while experts disposed of a bomb from World War-II found during preparations to construct a new kindergarten.

Last month, a kindergarten was evacuated after an unexploded World War-II bomb was found by a teacher on a shelf. Police said a child brought it inside after finding it on a woodland walk.

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Germany faces serious threat from unexploded bombs

Every year, an average 2,000-tonnes of unexploded ordnance are found in Germany.

An estimated 2.7 million tonnes of bombs were dropped by the Allies on Germany during World War-II.

Most unexploded bombs featured malfunctioning time-delay fuses while others never went off.

Germany has a dedicated bomb-disposal unit to counter the widespread problem. It's expected to take decades to find and deactivate all bombs.

Unexploded bombs getting more unstable over time

After the war, uncontrolled explosions of leftover bombs killed hundreds of civilians and dozens of bomb-disposal technicians. But the number of fatalities has declined over the years. However, experts warn that unexploded devices may be getting more unstable as their fuses grow brittle over time.

Major evacuations

Germany witnessed several large-scale evacuations over unexploded bombs

May 2017: 50,000 people were evacuated in Hannover during the disposal of three British-made bombs.

December 2016: Over 50,000 were evacuated in Augsburg after a 1.8-tonne British explosive was discovered.

May 2015: 20,000 people in Cologne were evacuated after a one-tonne bomb was found.

December 2011: 45,000 people were evacuated from Koblenz after two bombs were found.

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