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Meteorite injures over 100 people in Chelyabinsk

by Aleksandras Budrys at 15/02/2013 11:56

More than 100 people sought medical assistance in Russia’s Chelyabinsk region after a meteorite explosion, which occurred there in the morning, the press office of the Ministry of Interior said on Friday.

"People have been mostly bruised and cut by broken window glass. But no serious injuries have been registered,” a spokesperson told reporters.

Police are looking for fragments of the meteorite, reinforced patrols are guarding buildings with broken windows or otherwise damaged to prevent pilfering, the press office said.

The head of Russia’s consumer protection body Rospotrebnadzor Gennady Onishchenko said that all schools in the Chelyabinsk region will be temporarily closed until their windows broken by the meteorite are repaired.

A meteorite shower has hit three regions of Russia, and Kazakhstan, Russian Emergencies Ministry officials confirmed.

In one affected Russian region, Chelyabinsk, the authorities have received numerous calls reporting injuries received as a result of the meteorite shower, and 20,000 emergency response workers have been mobilized. Background radiation levels reportedly remain unchanged.

Reports vary about whether this was one larger meteorite, or many smaller ones.

“Verified information indicates that this was one meteorite which burned up as it approached Earth and disintegrated into smaller pieces” deputy head of the Russian Emergencies Ministry press office, Elena Smirnykh said. 

 “I hope that there will be no serious consequences, but it is a demonstration that it is not only the economy that is vulnerable, but our planet as well,” he said.

Russia's nuclear agency, Rosatom, issued a statement saying its facilities across affected regions were functioning normally.

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