By BosNewsLife News Center with reporting by BosNewsLife's Stefan J. Bos
CHELYABINSK/BUDAPEST (BosNewsLife)-- Christian missionaries and a pastor in Russia's Ural Mountains appealed for prayers late Friday, February 15, after a meteor with the power of an atomic bomb exploded over the region injuring more than 1,000 people.
"At least 1,000 people, including some 200 children, are reported injured, mostly by flying glass as the blast shattered windows," said Sergey Rakhuba, the president of mission group Russian Ministries, in a statement to BosNewsLife.
"Praise God, at this time there are no reports of fatalities, although some people are still hospitalized," he explained, adding that "no believers have been reported injured."
Hardest hit was the city of Chelyabinsk, some 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) east of Moscow, where Russian Ministries has a presence through its 'School Without Walls' program, which trains the next generation of Christian leaders, summer Bible camps and a Christmas gifts project for the needy.
The group's affiliated pastor in Chelyabinsk, Mikhail Guts, said local residents began to panic and ran out into the streets.
'END OF WORLD'
"Someone screamed, 'It’s the end of the world'," he recalled.
"First there was a blinding flash. My wife and I were in a panic wondering if there was a war," confirmed Oleg Lastochkin, editor of Metro Chelyabinsk, a newspaper in the city. "Four minutes after the flash, we felt a shock wave and the apartment windows were shaking. Street car sirens went off and then we heard five or six explosions."
The Russian Academy of Sciences said the meteor of about 10 tons entered the Earth's atmosphere at a supersonic speed of at least 54,000 kilometers per hour, and shattered between 30 and 50 kilometers above ground.
It is thought another meteor hit Russia's Siberia region over 100 years ago.
Pastor Guts said his son was in school at the time of the explosion, which caused his "desk to hit the wall". The pastor's wife reportedly noted that the blast was "so strong it felt like the whole house jumped."
As the extend of the damage became more clear Friday, February 15, local authorities reportedly urged residents to stock up on water and stay home.
In remarks obtained by BosNewsLife, Pastor Guts asked for "prayers for the injured, and also [for] the believers in the region [who] minister to their frightened neighbors."
Surgeon Vladimir Basmannikov was among those struggling to treat the injured and visible shocked residents. "The wounds that people have are mainly cuts and bruises, due to windows and window frames breaking and flying around," he said in an overcrowded hospital.
"And you can see how many people are here. We’ve already treated 60 or 70, and we still have a corridor full of people," the surgeon told reporters.
Rakhuba warned that many of the injured would return to damaged properties. He said he had appealed to supporters to "pray for those whose homes and businesses were damaged, and for those who were left terrified by the incident."
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