About 54,000 people were ordered to evacuate the southern Italy town of Brindisi on Sunday as experts were called in to defuse a World War II bomb discovered last month at a movie theater that was under renovation, according to a report.
It marked the largest peacetime evacuation in Italy to date, Reuters reported, citing the Milan newspaper Corriere della Sera daily. More than 60 percent of the city’s residents were forced to flee a “red zone” encompassing an about one-mile radius from the site where the bomb was found.
Authorities believe the undetonated bomb was dropped on the city in 1941 by the British, Reuters reported. It’s about three feet long and contains about 88 pounds of dynamite.
Brindisi sits on the heel of Italy’s boot across the Adriatic Sea from Albania. About 87,800 people live in the city, according to the most recent census data reported in 2017. A train station, two hospitals and a prison were closed due to the operation.
Residents were also ordered to remove their parked cars from the designated “red zone” and turn off their gas supplies before bomb technicians began to the disarming operation, Garda World reported. Details about the evacuation orders were available on the Brandisi Municipality website. Officials expected the operation to end by noon local time.