Chelyabinsk, Russia- The meteor that exploded over Russia's Ural Mountains on Friday brought serious damage to local residents and buildings.
The meteor appeared at around 09.25 local time over the region of Chelyabinsk, near the southern Ural Mountains. The fireball blinded drivers and a subsequent explosion blew out windows and damaged hundreds of buildings.
So far, around 1,200 people are reported to have been injured, including over 200 children, mainly from broken glass, according to a statement from the Russian Emergency Ministry. The damage caused by the meteoric strike is estimated to exceed 1 billion rubles (about 30 million U.S. dollars), a local official said Saturday.
Emergency Situations Minister Vladimir Puchkov flew to Chelyabinsk on Friday to arrange rescue work. About 30,000 people, including psychologists, were sent to help with injured people.
Emergency authorities have been accessing the damaged houses, schools, kindergartens and other public facilities, Puchkov said. Local citizens also volunteered to help with cleaning local schools and residential areas.
Around 300 schools were damaged during this incident. The local government closed these schools immediately and sent students home.
"All the students saw it from the window. It was really close to us. It was like a fleeting light. And we all thought it was a plane crash. I told the students to move from the windows and not long after that, the meteor exploded," said Alisa Mikhailovna, a local teacher.
The municipal government asked all damaged schools to be fixed before Monday, to make sure students can resume study on time. Professional psychological therapists are also sent to help with the mental recovery of the students. The city's infrastructures, such as communication, transportation and heating system, are all back to operation.