Police look into meteor shower relief expenses
YEKATERINBURG, March 7 - RAPSI. The police are reviewing whether the funds allocated to repair damage caused by a meteor shower in the Chelyabinsk region were spent legally, the Interior Ministry's press service told RIA Novosti.
This is a routine check, according to Anzhelika Chirkova, the chief of the press service of the Interior Ministry's regional chief directorate.
The ministry's website reported that an inquiry is being conducted by the economic security and anti-corruption departments of the regional chief police directorate and local internal affairs departments.
First Deputy Chelyabinsk Governor Sergei Komyakov told RIA Novosti that the relief funds were allocated from the regional government's reserve funds without injections from the federal budget.
"We expect the funds to arrive from the federal reserves, as there is a draft resolution in this regard," he said.
On February 15 at 7:23 AM Moscow time, an observatory in Yekaterinburg - about 200 kilometers (125 miles) southeast of Chelyabinsk - reported a meteor shower over the Chelyabinsk region.
The meteor shower hit three regions of Russia and Kazakhstan. Dozens of people were hurt by broken window glass and debris. There were no fatalities, but over 1,500 people sought medical assistance.
The meteor shower damaged buildings in Chelyabinsk and neighboring towns, leaving over 5,000 buildings without window panes. The Chelyabinsk city government pledged to pay up to 50,000 rubles ($1,650) in compensation to meteor shower victims for housing repairs.
Around 90% of the damage from the meteor shower in the Chelyabinsk region has been repaired, the local department of the Emergencies Ministry reported. The level of background radiation is normal, its statement said.
Monitoring the background radiation level is crucial in an area with a large number of nuclear facilities. Scientists from the Urals Federal University and experts from a meteoritic astronomy laboratory who work in the region have found over 100 meteorite fragments.
Chemical analysis has established that they came from outer space.