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Russia begins clean-up process after meteorite explosion

NASA officials describe the meteorite explosion as a "once in a century event," while 20,000 emergency response workers are mobilized to the area.

Russian meteor original photoEnlarge
A meteorite explosion over the Ural Mountain of Russia on February 15, 2013 injured nearly 1,000 people, shattered windows and damaged buildings. (Nadya Jezebel via Instagram/Courtesy)

Russia began the cleanup process after a 10-ton meteorite exploded in a 500 kiloton blast on February 15th over the Ural Mountains — an event that NASA deemed a "once in a century" occurrence.

Government forces have deployed 20,000 relief workers to the area, reported state-run news agency RIA Novosti, while 3,000 buildings were damaged by the explosion.

Read more from GlobalPost: Meteorite explosion over Russia injures nearly 1,200 (LIVE BLOG)

The force of the explosion shattered windows, damaged buildings, and caused injury to around 1,200 people, according to figures released by Russia Today and The New York Times.

200 of those were children, who were hurt when glass exploded into their schools, according to Russia’s Interior Ministry said the New York Times.

While no deaths were reported, a number of people suffered trauma to the head and broken bones, according to the Times.

Around 100,000 homeowners had been affected by the incident, said Chelyabinsk Region Governor Mikhail Yurevichto to RIA Novosti Saturday.

The cost of the damage is estimated to top $33 million, wrote CNN.

"We would expect an event of this magnitude to occur once every 100 years on average," said Paul Chodas of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office, on NASA's website.

"When you have a fireball of this size we would expect a large number of meteorites to reach the surface and in this case there were probably some large ones."

NASA added that the meteor was the largest such object reported since 1908, when the mysterious Tungska Event took place — a remarkable explosion with an estimated force of 185 Hiroshima bombs.

Here's video of the meteorite shock wave blowing out windows and doors at an office facility:

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/russia/130216/russia-begins-clean-process-after-meteorite-explosion