About 3,000 people were evacuated before the army detonated a nearly half-ton bomb that was discovered in Italy’s Po River.
Extreme drought caused by high temperatures in Europe has revealed an unexploded bomb from the Second World War era, located along the banks of Italy’s Po River.
Fishermen discovered the American-made bomb on July 25 near the northern Italian village of Borgo Virgilio, near the city of Mantua. The bomb appeared to have been submerged there for more than 70 years, indicates Live Science.
However, water levels in the Po River, which runs east-west in northern Italy and is the country’s longest river, have dropped significantly this summer following several heatwaves that have hit many parts of Europe (including Italy), with record temperatures.
Military experts say the bomb weighed about 450 kilograms
After evacuating the approximately 3,000 civilians living in the vicinity of the village, military experts disconnected the bomb’s fuse and moved the device to a quarry about 45 kilometers away. There, this bomb was destroyed by a controlled detonation. No casualties or property damage were reported as a result of the controlled explosion.
This summer, much of the Northern Hemisphere was hit by extreme heat waves, which are expected to become more frequent as a result of ongoing climate change. At the end of June, Rome reported its highest temperature ever recorded, reaching 40.5 degrees Celsius.
Effects caused by drought
During the June heatwave, Rome’s Tiber River dried up so much that the ruins of an ancient bridge built during the reign of Emperor Nero (the fifth emperor of the Roman Empire from 54 to 68 AD) became clearly visible on the riverbed. Bridge ruins only occur during long periods of drought, experts said.
Because of the ongoing drought, Italy has declared a state of emergency for the areas around the Po River, where about a third of Italy’s agricultural production takes place. The region is suffering the worst drought in 70 years.