Russian region cleans up fireball blast aftermath

destruction-caused-blast-fallingEmergency workers and volunteers are repairing damaged buildings and replacing 200,000 square meters of glass in Russia’s Ural region hit by the fireball blast. While the damage costs have soared, there’s still no trace of the meteorite itself.

­The Friday meteorite explosion injured nearly 1200 people and left thousands of homes exposed to a severe frost that reached as low as -20 degrees Celsius at night in some parts of the region.

Official figures say 3724 houses, 671 education institutions and dozens of social, medical, sports and recreation facilities were damaged by the blast.

Repair work in Chelyabinsk should be completed in three days, Russian Emergency Minister Vladimir Puchkov said on Saturday. He added that basic utilities such as power, transport and telephone lines are functioning normally and that “socially significant facilities” are the top priority of restoration efforts.

About 30 percent of the work has already been done, and all the damaged medical institutions have been repaired, the Governor of Chelyabinsk region Mikhail Yurevich said. He went on to describe February 15 as the city’s second birthday: “If the meteor, which exploded above us, was just a little bigger, it’s hard to imagine what could have happened to our towns and villages. The huge sum of 1 billion rubles needed to repair broken windows and damaged walls pales beside losses we could have had. The most important thing is that nobody died!”

Hundreds of the region’s schools that saw their windows shattered are expected to be opened by Monday. Some of the 289 injured children won’t be attending classes that soon though, as they continue to receive treatment in hospitals.

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