Floods devastate Bulgaria as UN stands by

Floods have continued to ravage Bulgaria this week after further heavy rainfall has forced a state of emergency to be imposed across 15 cities.

Bulgaria has been devastated by floods this week

Bulgaria has been devastated by floods this week

So far, twenty people have been killed in the floods while more than a quarter of the country's 7.5 million people have been affected and an estimated US$630 million worth of damage has been caused.

Most of the farmland around capital Sofia has been destroyed and the country has suffered weeks of torrential rain.

The international response is being led by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs which has made a US$30,000 emergency grant available for emergency response coordination. Bulgaria's own efforts have been made difficult by the political vacuum left after inconclusive elections earlier in the summer. A new government is now working to formulate an action plan.

UNICEF has provided blankets, kitchen utensils, water purification tablets and oral rehydration salts. The UNDP is also providing an emergency cash grant while the World Health Organisation is ready to assist with health assessments of the country.

Flooded roads, collapsed bridges and isolated dwellings have made an accurate assessment of needs quite difficult, but the prevention of disease spreading is a priority.

Harsh weather conditions are expected to continue in many parts of the country this week making the flood conditions even worse.

David Hopkins



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