4 Dec 2011

Koblenz evacuated for WWII bomb removal

5:50 pm on 4 December 2011

Officials in Germany are evacuating more than 45,000 people from the city of Koblenz, as experts defuse a massive World War II bomb found in the River Rhine.

The 1.8 tonne bomb, dropped by the Royal Air Force (RAF) was uncovered after water levels in the Rhine fell significantly as a result of a prolonged dry spell.

The BBC reports everyone living within a 2km radius of the bomb site has been ordered to leave the area and that's nearly half the city's population.

Shelters with 12,000 beds have been set up in schools to accommodate those with no other place to go.

Hundreds of sandbags have been laid around the part of the riverbed where the bomb lies. On Sunday morning the remaining water will be pumped out from the area.

Only once the bomb site is dry can work to defuse the explosives begin.

A second, smaller US bomb will be defused at the same time.