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CHELYABINSK, February 15 (Itar-Tass) – The governor of Russia’s Chelyabinsk region, Mikhail Yurevich, who urgently cut short his visit to Moscow on Friday held an emergency meeting with members of the regional government, the chiefs of various agencies as well as the heads of cities and districts affected by meteorite shower, the gubernatorial press service reports.
A crisis management center headed by Igor Murog, the vice-governor of the Chelyabinsk region, was set up to monitor the situation.
According to Governor Mikhail Yurevich, most of the damage and destruction was concentrated in ten districts of the Chelyabinsk region located in southern Urals.
“A state of emergency has been imposed in the Krasnoarmeisky, Korkinsky and Uvelsky districts. Luckily, there was no critical damage or durable disruptions in the functioning of life-support systems. However, many windows were shattered, especially in socially important facilities and houses,” the governor went on to say. He said it was necessary to restore the damaged housing and maintain the operation of the heating systems so that to keep people warm.
“It is also important to give psychological support to people. The most important thing is to calm them down. The Emergencies Ministry doesn’t predict a recurrence of this dangerous phenomenon,” Yurevich said.
According to the latest reports, referred to at the meeting, the meteorite shower and the powerful shockwave that followed broke almost 170,000 square meters of glass; 2,962 apartment blocks and 361 schools and kindergartens were damaged in Chelyabinsk.
The number of people hurt by the meteorite shower, according to the latest Interior Ministry reports, has reached one thousand, of which over 200 are children.
Earlier on Friday, Yegor Kovalchuk, the minister of industry and natural resources of the Chelyabinsk region, told a briefing in Yekaterinburg that the housing and utilities sector was the worst hit.
“At present, the region has thrown all its forces to liquidate the aftermaths of the destruction. The dusk is falling, and the people are slightly scared. We are doing everything to calm them down,” Kovalchuk said, adding that no industrial facilities or enterprises were damaged. The minister said the most important task was to unfreeze houses left without windows.
Chelyabinsk regional Governor Mikhail Yurevich has promised to re-install glass windows in all medical establishments of the Chelyabinsk region by 10 p.m. on Friday evening. Schools and kindergartens are expected to work normally on Monday. Companies from the neighboring Kurgan and Sverdlovsk regions are helping the local Chelyabinsk firms to restore glass in the damaged buildings.
A meteorite shower fell on five Russian regions on Friday morning. “The lower layers of the atmosphere have been increasingly active in the territories of the Tyumen, Sverdlovsk, Chelyabinsk and Kurgan regions and the Republic of Bashkortostan since 07:00 in the morning Moscow time. That activity resulted in flashes of light, shock and sonic waves. A meteorite shower is believed to be the cause behind those natural phenomena,” the Russian Emergencies Ministry said. It added that meteorite fragments had fallen in three districts of the Chelyabinsk region (two places with fallen fragments were found in the Chebarkulsky and one in Zlatoustovsky districts).