Old bombs in Germany – level 3
Seventy years after the end of World War II and Germany is still haunted by unexploded bombs buried deep within the country’s soil. Every year, more than 2,000 tons of live bombs and munitions are found, sometimes under buildings. While they are mostly defused or detonated in controlled blasts, they cause major disruptions with people being evacuated. They also have been known to explode at random, causing damage to buildings and even deaths.
At the police blasting ground in Berlin’s Grunewald forest, they’re trying to safely detonate as many of stockpile munitions as possible. The sound of air raid sirens warns of the impending danger before a chain of explosions rocks the otherwise quiet woodland.
Hardly a week goes by in Germany without a bomb being found. The country was pummelled by 1.5 million tons of bombs during the war, and German officials estimate that 15 per cent of those bomb failed to explode and could be buried up to 6 metres deep.
In Berlin alone, 56 tons of ordnance were retrieved last year, and according to police explosions expert Detlef Jaab, there is no end in sight.
“Of course more were found earlier. There was a lot lying around at the end of the war – that was all cleared but there is still no end in sight. It is gradually becoming fewer and fewer, but nobody can say when it will be over.”
Difficult words: haunt (to scare, to trouble), munition (weapons, bombs etc.), defuse (to stop a bomb from exploding), blast (an explosion), disruption (interruption), stockpile (a large amount of something), air raid (bombing), impeding (about to happen), pummel (to hit many times), estimate (to guess), ordnance (bombs), gradually (slowly).
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