Mass evacuations are hitting the city of Dortmund in Germany after a number of unexploded bombs were discovered in four locations throughout the city. Experts believe that the bombs, which were described as “unexploded,” were originally dropped during the Allied invasion of Germany during World War II.
According to The Daily Mail, Dortmund city hall declared that their suspicions were based on “anomalies” construction crews came across during a number of projects.
“Only an excavation” could confirm the existence of bombs, it added.
All residents that live within a 500-meter radius of each location have been told to evacuate their homes by 8:00 a.m. Sunday morning, as excavation work would begin Sunday afternoon. They have not yet been told when they can return.
“That depends on how quickly the area can been cleared and what we find,” said Arnulf Rybicki, Dortmund city’s housing and infrastructure department chief, as reported by DW.
For evacuees who cannot stay with friends or relatives, there is an evacuation center at Dortmund’s Scharnhorst Primary School. In addition, since some parts of the city have been closed, free entry is being offered at Dortmund’s zoo and the Südbad swimming complex.
It is not just residential areas that have been affected. Two hospitals are located within the danger zones, and accordingly, ambulances began shuttling patients from the locale on Saturday morning.
Der Bereich rund um das JoHo #Dortmund ist fristgerecht Auto-frei. Es mussten nur 15 Fahrzeuge geschleppt werden. Die Fahrzeuge standen vereinzelt. Die Maßnahmen verliefen ohne Zwischenfälle. #dobombe1201 #dobombe https://t.co/ifCbTo32SL— Stadt Dortmund (@stadtdortmund) January 11, 2020
Officials at the hospitals have said that all has gone smoothly in the process.
“It’s not quite been an evacuation, with us it’s more been a redistribution,” a receptionist at Klinikum Dortmund told DW.
“We’ve moved people through the building and some people have been moved to other hospitals. It’s all under control.”
Similarly, two retirement homes also had to move their residents to safety.
As the ninth largest city in Germany, Dortmund has a large population, and the fact that the zones cover some of the most populated areas has made things difficult for residents. Currently, the areas that need to be evacuated include a majority of Dortmund’s city center, including the main train station and Germany’s National Football Museum.
And barely a few hundred metres away, in one of Dortmund's busiest shopping streets, you would never guess that 70-year-old bombs may be disposed of just round the corner in a few short hours time. pic.twitter.com/6kuesZbEvY— Elliot Douglas (@ElliotDee) January 11, 2020
This is far from the first time German authorities have had to clear out areas to dismantle World War II-era bombs.
Just last September, a 550-pound bomb was defused in Hanover, requiring the evacuation of 15,000 people.
In 2017, an even larger evacuation of around 65,000 people was required after a 1.4-ton British bomb was discovered in Frankfurt.
Historians estimate that around 10 percent of all Allied bombs that hit the ground failed to detonate.
Meanwhile, while German residents are worried about the ghosts of World War II, the hashtag #WorldWarIII recently trended on Twitter as young Americans expressed their fears about a war with Iran, as was previously covered by The Inquisitr.