In mid April 2013, two months after the air blast of the detonating Chelyabinsk superbolide had caused widespread damage to buildings and structures in the greater Chelyabinsk area, the repair efforts were still in full swing. At that time less than 40 percent of the damage was repaired, but the 129 Million Rubels the government had provided in the shape of an emergency relief fund, were already spent. As early as March 6, regional newspapers had reported that an investigation by a task force of the anti-corruption police with the purpose to fathom the whereabouts of these funds was under way. The results of this investigation have yet to become public (May 2013). In mid April many public buildings and private homes still lacked windows. The traces of the catastrophe could still be seen at the front of the Chelyabinsk airport or on the facade of the Traktor Ledovya Arena, the city’s famous ice-rink, where the shockwave had stripped the walls and façade from large sheets of cladding and insulation.
As published by the newspaper Moscow Komsomolez, the final damage and casualty assessment stated that windows of more than 7,000 buildings were destroyed and 1,700 injured citizens required medical attention. One month after the event, of the 69 victims that were hospitalized, four severe cases were still treated in hospitals.
While the media attention focussed almost exclusively on the damage inflicted in the city of Chelyabinsk, the hamlets and villages directly under the bolide’s trajectory suffered no less. In Emanzhelinka windows were shattered, walls collapsed and on several houses part of the roofs were blown off. According to a report in Moscow Komsomolez (February 28), some of the villagers were unable to afford the necessary repairs of their homes and could only do so by selling the collected meteorite fragments.
Damage from the shockwave of the detonating Chelyabinsk superbolide on roof and walls of the Traktor Ledovya Arena, the city’s famous ice-rink
However, the meteorite fall and its implications were also perceived as a chance to boost the awareness for their products and to expand the tourism business in the greater Chelyabinsk area. A contest was initiated to commemorate the meteorite fall with a monument, and from the 728 proposals submitted by the public, 35 were considered by the city council under supervision of governor Mikhail Yurevich . One idea discussed in this context was the integration of a stylized meteor in the city’s emblem. Other suggestions included statues, a large fountain, a mosaic and a meteorite museum. Local entrepreneurs saw a chance for meteorite merchandise and created a number of trademarks and slogans, such as “Chelyabinsk, Russia’s Meteorite Capital” and had them registered. Current attempts to merchandize the event also invented such bizarre products as “Chelyabinsk Meteorite Perfume” and Chelyabinsk “Meteorite Car Fragrance”.
Approaching the Chelyabinsk strewn field in mid April
Also search conditions in mid-April were less than optimal.
Yet, the search for meteorites continues under close surveilance of the local forest dwellers