Russian Meteor Leaves Trail of Damage Across Region

MOSCOW, February 15 (RIA Novosti) – Buildings across Russia’s Chelyabinsk Region were damaged by falling meteorite particles and the ensuing shock waves and sonic booms, Russian officials said on Friday.

The total area of window glass shattered in Chelyabinsk amounts to 100,000 square meters, city authorities said. Around 1,200 people had been hurt, including more than 200 children, mostly by flying glass shards in the Chelyabinsk Region. Many residents were exposed to bitter cold, as temperatures in the region hit minus nine degrees Celsius (15.8 Fahrenheit).

A roof and wall partly collapsed at a zinc factory in the region after it was struck by the shockwave from the meteorite, the Interior Ministry reported. The officials did not specify which factory it was.

The factory has continued operating normally despite the damage, the regional government said in a statement online.
South Ural State University has cancelled classes for at least two days due to the damage to its buildings.

“The roof did not collapse, but the damage is quite significant. The windows are broken, some of them were blown in with their frames,” a university spokeswoman told RIA Novosti. Some ceiling tiles also fell, she added.

Some 3,000 residential buildings were also damaged, Chelyabinsk city administration officials said. More than 240 medical facilities and some 300 schools and kindergartens have been affected, and the roof of a Chelyabinsk ice rink also suffered.

At least 454 residential buildings have had their gas supply cut off in central Chelyabinsk as of Friday afternoon after protective safety systems were activated, the city administration said. No damage to gas pipelines was reported.

The Yuzhnouralskaya district power station had 10 percent of its windows broken, but its operations were not affected, Russian energy supplier Inter RAO reported.

Russia’s nuclear agency, Rosatom, said its facilities across the affected regions were functioning normally. The Defense Ministry also said none of its property had been damaged.

Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov said Chelyabinsk and Kopeysk were the hardest hit by the meteorite shower, with damage amounting to more than 400 million rubles ($13.3 million). Chelyabinsk Regional Governor Mikhail Yurevich has estimated the damage to the region at 1 billion rubles ($33.2 million).

The meteorite shower was witnessed in at least three Russian regions – Chelyabinsk, Sverdlovsk and Tyumen – as well as in the northern area of neighboring Kazakhstan, early on Friday morning.

Updated headline, information on the number and type of buildings affected and cost of damage estimates.


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