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Huge World War II bomb forces mass evacuation in Southern Germany

During World War II, Allied air forces dropped 2.7 million tons of bombs on Europe, more than half of that amount on Germany alone. Unexploded bombs from World War II frequently turns up in German communities, and sometimes authorities are forced to evacuate small areas to dispose of the dangerous explosives. But a huge 3.8 tonne bomb that recently surfaced during construction work has sparked the biggest evacuation in post-war German history.

The evacuation and defusing of the device will take place on Christmas Day, the first public holiday after the bomb was discovered on December 20. Authorities say a holiday was chosen as it is easier to evacuate a town since there’s less traffic and work doesn’t get interrupted. Local news website Augsburger Allgemeine reports:

Up to 2,500 personnel from rescue services, fire brigades, and police will join the operation. More than 32,000 households living within a 1.5km (0.9 mile) radius of the bomb site will be evacuated. Schools, gyms, indoor stadiums and an exhibition centre will be used as temporary shelters.

In 2011, more than 45,000 residents of German city of Koblenz had to be evacuated as bomb experts defused a massive World War II bomb that emerged from the Rhine River due to low water levels. More than 20,000 people were evacuated from their homes in Dortmund in 2014 after the discovery of a 4,000-pound bomb.

Further bomb discoveries across Germany are expected to continue in coming years as it is estimated that as many as 10 percent of the bombs dropped by Allied aircraft had failed to explode.

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