The Hanover evacuation was only topped by an evacuation in Augsburg last year.
German authorities are conducting one of the largest bomb disposal operations since World War II. The carefully coordinated evacuation in Hanover is expected to last up to 24 hours.
More than 50,000 residents in the northwestern German city of Hanover have been ordered to evacuate their homes – about 10 percent of the city’s entire population. A total of 13 unexploded bombs from World War II were due to be removed. Five were confirmed to have been successfully located by midday.
On October 9, 1943, some 261,000 bombs were dropped on the city by Allied forces, with many unexploded bombs still assumed to be scattered across the country.
Seventy years after the end of World War II, German authorities are under pressure to remove unexploded ordnance from populated areas, as the bombs become more dangerous with the passing of time due to material fatigue.
Free cultural program to entertain evacuees
The evacuation process started on Friday evening with seven care home residents and hospital patients being the first to be removed from the area.
Most other people living in the densely populated suburb began leaving their homes on Saturday morning. The city of Hanover prepared a series of events at museums, theaters and other public venues for evacuees to pass the time during the disposal operation. The area in question is located to the north of Hanover’s city center, according to the local “Hannoversche Allgemeine” newspaper.
Second-largest post-war bomb evacuation
The disposal in Hanover is thought to be the second-largest of its kind in post-war history, and even marks the second such major operation in Hanover.
The record-breaker preceded the current operation by merely a few months, when on Christmas Day last year, 54,000 people in the southern German city of Augsburg were similarly evacuated from their homes.
Three members of a bomb disposal squad were killed in the north-central German city of Göttingen during an operation to defuse a bomb in 2010.