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Duds found – 20,000 people in Göttingen are evacuated

An elaborate evacuation is underway in Göttingen: around 20,000 people have to leave the city center after a dud was found. It is still completely unclear how the bomb from the Second World War can be dealt with. Is it possible to defuse it on site?

Göttingen – The discovery of a 500 kilogram bomb from the Second World War brought public life in downtown Göttingen to a standstill on Thursday.

Around 20,000 people had to be brought to safety after the dud was found on Thursday morning during construction work on the Weender Tor in the middle of the center, as the city administration announced.

The evacuation, which also affected two clinics, lasted until the evening. Roads around the site were blocked. In rail traffic there were delays, diversions and train cancellations. The city expected the operation to last into the night.

Until the early evening it remained unclear whether the five-hundredweight bomb had to be defused by the ordnance disposal service on site, transported away or detonated in a controlled manner. City spokesman Dominik Kimyon said that the explosives experts could only start working on the bomb once the restricted area had been cleared.

Because of the dud, large parts of the Göttingen center had to be evacuated within 1000 meters of the site. According to the city, the entire old town as well as parts of the east quarter, the north city and west of the railway line were affected. Collective accommodation has been set up for residents. “On the whole, everything is running properly,” said a city spokeswoman on Thursday evening with a view to the evacuation measures. Many people have already left the area. A retirement home had also been cleared.

Traffic around Göttingen largely came to a standstill as a result of the evacuation. Streets around the site were largely blocked. The transport companies rerouted city and regional buses.

The main train station, which is close to where it was found, was closed to rail traffic. Trains were canceled in regional traffic to and from Göttingen – as did long-distance traffic. Göttingen is on the important ICE high-speed line from Hanover to Würzburg. A rail spokesman said long-distance trains to Hanover were diverted via Altenbeken in North Rhine-Westphalia, long-distance trains to Berlin went via Erfurt. This increased travel times by around 80 minutes.

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