Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ENCORE!

The Little Prince on the big screen

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

At least 3 dead in grenade attack in Bujumbura

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Inequality, sexism and the movie industry

Read more

ENCORE!

Sienna Miller on motherhood, her new movies and Cannes glamour

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

After the Fall of Ramadi, Palmyra: Did the West Underestimate the Jihadists?

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Migrants and Immigrants: A Global Crisis

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Behind the scenes of French gastronomy

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Protests continue in Burundi as calls mount for election delay

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Burundi: Nkurunziza delays parliamentary polls as clashes continue

Read more

France

Mine-clearing operation sees 16,000 people evacuated in Brest

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-05

A vast operation in search of WWII-era bombs in the western French city of Brest on Sunday forced 16,000 people to leave their homes for the day.

AFP - About 16,000 residents in Brest were evacuated Sunday to make way for a major operation to rid the northern French city of unexploded ordnance dating from World War II.
  
Sirens wailed as some 400 police officers and firefighters fanned out to ensure everyone had left the designated security zone in downtown Brest before mine-clearing experts were sent in to begin work.
  
The evacuation was decided last month and many residents had decided to leave their homes on Saturday and stay with friends during the security sweep.
  
City officials had set up temporary shelters for evacuees left homeless during the operation from 7:00 am (0500 GMT) to 10:00 pm (2000 GMT).
  
An important German naval base during World War II, Brest was heavily bombed by Allied forces in August and September 1944.
  
Experts estimate that some 10 percent of the 30,000 tonnes of explosives that rained on the city during the allied campaign still pose a threat.
  
Using metal detectors, mine-clearing units have found 83 shells and 15 other potentially dangerous objects that were to be removed on Sunday.
  
A three-man team was also to scan a former naval base facility near the city centre for mines and other unexploded ordnance that will be destroyed during a second operation planned for August 15.
  
Brest, on France's western tip, has staged several mine-clearing operations. In March, 3,000 residents were evacuated from an area near the port to allow units to defuse a 250-kilogram US bomb.

Date created : 2009-08-03

COMMENT(S)