Injuries swell to 1,000 as meteorite hits Russia

Moscow, Feb 16 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Around 1,000 people in Russia, including more than 200 children, have been injured as a result of falling meteorite fragments, mostly in Chelyabinsk region, the interior ministry said.

However, most injuries seemed to be relatively light.

The majority of those injured suffered cuts from broken glass as the meteorite hit the Earth, smashing windows and causing damage to over 3,000 buildings, officials said.

Earlier, Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov told President Vladimir Putin that "more than 500 people have asked for medical help; 112 people, including 80 children, were hospitalized".

Meanwhile, the health ministry said 525 people, including 82 children, were hurt in Chelyabinsk alone.

The ministry said 34 people, including 12 children, were hospitalised. Two of the injured were in grave condition.

By late afternoon, Chelyabinsk governor Mikhail Yurevich said the number of injured had gone up to 950, adding that two-thirds of the injuries were very light.

In an interesting development, a clergyman said the meteorite was "the Lord's message to humanity".

"From the scriptures, we know that the Lord often sends people signs and warnings via natural forces," said Feofan, Metropolitan of Chelyabinsk and Zlatoust.

"I think that not only for the Ural residents, but for the whole of humanity, the meteorite is a reminder that we live in fragile and unpredictable world," the clergyman said.

He called on people to support each other and pray to God in thanks for saving the world from a devastating disaster.

--IANS/RIA Novosti

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