Extreme drought: Dried-up Italian river reveals unexploded WWII bomb
A World War Two bomb buried in an Italian river has been found as a result of an exceptional drought.
The 450kg (1,000lb) bomb was found by a fisherman on the banks of the filthy River Po.
The greatest drought Italy has experienced in 70 years has caused a big chunk of the 650km (400 mile) river to dry up.
The unusually hot weather and low rainfall levels in northern Italy have raised concerns about the effects of climate change.
Army official Colonel Marco Nasi told Reuters that the bombs were found by fishermen on the bank of the Po River.
The unexploded bomb was discovered in July not far from Borgo Virgilio, a village in Lombardy. Officials from the Italian military claim that it was packed with 240 kg (530 lb) of explosives.
3,000 local neighbours reportedly had to be evacuated so that bomb-disposal experts could safely carry out a controlled explosion on Sunday.
“At first, several inhabitants declared they would not go, but in the last few days, we think we have persuaded everyone,” said the town’s mayor, Francesco Apori.
The area’s airspace was briefly shut down, along with river traffic on the waterway itself.
The Po River flows from the southwest Alps to the Adriatic Sea and is the longest river in Italy. However, due to a severe drought, expanding portions of a dried-up riverbed are visible on this year’s annual satellite photographs.
Authorities in Italy declared an emergency last month for the Po’s surroundings, which irrigates around one-third of the country’s agricultural output.
The river’s current has weakened so much in recent months as a result of the heat and lack of rainfall that farmers in the Po Valley believe salty seawater is already seeping into the river and destroying crops.