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RF emergencies ministry sets up working group on meteorite threats

March 12, 2013, 11:18 UTC+3

“The experience gained in the tracing of the Chelyabinsk meteorite and in clear-up operations after its fall is absolutely unique," Emergencies Minister said

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MOSCOW, March 12 (Itar-Tass) Following the recent meteorite shower in Russia’s Urals regions, the emergencies ministry has set up a working group tasked to elaborate new approaches to the protection of the population against asteroid threats, Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov said on Tuesday.

“The experience gained in the tracing of the Chelyabinsk meteorite and in clear-up operations after its fall is absolutely unique. It will make it possible to adjust development programs of Russia’s rescue corps,” he said at a roundtable meeting at the Federation Council, or upper house of the Russian parliament.

According to the minister, it is important to elaborate the strategy of reacting to asteroid and meteorite threats. Another major task is, in his words, to build a system of meteorite threat warning and to teach people how to behave in such situations.

“The Russian emergencies ministry has already set up a working group to work out new approaches to the problem of the protection of the population and territories against asteroid and meteorite threats,” Puchkov said. “It is vital to understand that space threats are a real hazard to the humankind. Joint efforts are needed to parry it.”

On February 15, a meteorite that exploded over Russia’s city of Chelyabinsk caused a large-scale emergency situation. The shock wave from the meteorite explosion caused numerous damages to residential houses and social infrastructure in the cities of Chelyabinsk, Korkino, and Kopeisk. “The area hit by the shock wave was some 130 kilometers long and 50 kilometers wide,” the minister noted. More than one million people reside in this area.

In all, the shock wave broke up to 200,000 square meters of windows in more than 7,000 buildings, including more than 6,000 residential houses, and over 1,000 educational, medical, social, and sports facilities. As many as 1,613 people sought medical help after the accident. Most of them were injured by broken glass. More than 24,000 people took part in repair operations.

The minister assessed efforts taken to react to the emergency situation as timely and appropriate.


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