Defusing of WW2-era bomb forces 60000 to evacuate German financial hub

Defusing of WW2-era bomb forces 60000 to evacuate German financial hub

Defusing of WW2-era bomb forces 60000 to evacuate German financial hub

The largest evacuation operation in post-war Germany is underway with 70,000 people in Frankfurt forced to leave their homes due to a World War II-era bomb.

The 1.8-ton British bomb, which German media said was nicknamed "Wohnblockknacker" ("Blockbuster") for its ability to wipe out whole streets and flatten buildings, was discovered on Tuesday during building work. Officials have ordered residents to evacuate homes within almost a mile of the site in Germany's financial capital.

As well as residents, more than 100 hospital patients from Frankfurt and Koblenz, including premature infants and those in intensive care, have also had to be moved to safety.

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Defusing it will require the biggest postwar evacuation in Germany, with police planning to clear an area including police headquarters, two hospitals, transport systems and Germany's central bank storing $US70 billion in gold reserves.

"We have nearly finished the evacuation in the hospitals, but for retirement homes, it's going to take a bit more time", a spokesman for the city's firefighters said.

The bomb, which was dropped by the British during Allied bombing campaigns, is an aerial mine HC 4000, weighing 1.4 tonnes, reports Efe news.

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Although police have said there is no immediate danger, the bomb's massive size prevents them from taking any chances during the disarming process.

More than 70,000 people have been evacuated in Frankfurt ahead of the disposal of a WWII bomb. In Koblenz, about 21,000 were displaced from homes, a prison, and a hospital as specialists defused a 1,100-pound United States bomb Saturday.

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