Bulgaria: Floods OCHA Situation Report No. 1

Ref: OCHA/GVA - 2005/0115
OCHA Situation Report No. 1
Bulgaria - Floods

This situation report is based on consultations and communications between OCHA, the UN Resident Coordinator's Office in Bulgaria, and various partners such as NATO, as well as on available information from the media.


1. While still recovering from flooding in May and June, continuous rain has been falling in Bulgaria since the beginning of July. Flooding has occurred in the districts of Targovishte, Veliko Tarnovo, Shoumen, Stara Zagora and Rousse and in some municipalities in the Districts of Haskovo, Bourgas, Vratza, Silistra and Lovech. The Rousse, Dve Mogili, Lukovit, Pravetz, Mezdra, Roman and Svoge Municipalities have been declared in "State of Disaster." Sofia Municipality is in the beginning of an "Emergency Situation". The rivers Iantra, Kamchia, Russenski Lom and their subsidiary streams sharply increased their level and overflowed their riverbeds.

2. Ground floors and basements of residential and agricultural buildings have been flooded. Road traffic and railway transport are seriously affected as well as telephone lines, electricity and water supply systems. Landslide activation, undermining of the basis of bridges, and damage of roads occurred in many places as masses of mud and rocks accumulated on roads and railways. In total more than 57 municipalities suffered considerable material damage, including:

- Flooding of 48,425 residential and public buildings;

- Destruction of 62 bridges;

- Damage to 23 bridge constructions;

- Damage to 36 water-supply pipes;

- Activation of 68 landslides;

- Collapse of 126 support walls;

- Damage of 113 gutters;

- Damage to 7 pump stations;

- Breaches in 3 dam walls;

- Breaches in 28 dikes.

The population residing in the affected zones is estimated at about 2,000,000 out of which 35,000 are children under or at the age of 16. The Government is estimating that approximately 10,000 people have been mostly affected and are still in need of assistance.

Many animals have drowned as a result of the flooding. The aggravated situation prevented their timely burying. In order to prevent epidemics, disinfecting substances are needed. Due to impaired water supply and deterioration of the drinking water there is a heightened risk of epidemics.

3. The Bulgarian Government estimates the costs of the floods to approximately 150 million Leva (93 million USD). The cost for damages on the railway infrastructure alone exceeds 50 million Leva.

The Bulgarian Government informs that the "Civil Protection" rescue teams are in urgent need of the following equipment:

Motor pumps for dirty water with a set of hose pipes and 25 - 100 l/sek capacity 150 sets
Plunging pumps for dirty waters - electric, with a set of hose pipes and 10 - 20 l/sek capacity (monophase) 100 sets
Portable 6-8 KB electricity aggregates 50 sets
Rubber boots 100 pcs.
Protective clothes for working under water 600 sets
Overboard engine inflatable boats 30 sets
Sleeping bags 1,000 pcs.
Rescue jackets 600 pcs.
Tirfores - 3- 5 tons 60 psc.
Manual Motor Lanterns 30 pcs.
Chemical toilets 100 pcs.
Disinfecting substances 10,000 liters

4. According to the Bulgarian Government the population in the disaster-struck areas need the following assistance:

Food products and water 10,000 people
Tableware items 2,000 people
Mattresses, blankets, pillows, sheets, pillow cases 10,000 people
Sanitary materials (soap, washing, rinsing materials, toilet paper) 10,000 people
Towels 10,000 people

National response

5. 24-hour-duty shifts have been established in the HQ of the Standing Committee on the Protection of the Population Against Disasters, Accidents and Catastrophes at the Council of Ministers. Information on the emergency situation is reported every 2 hours and in case of need even more often to the State Agency of Civil Protection.

Emergency Action Plans have been implemented in the affected areas. The Permanent District and Municipal Committees for Protection of the Population Against Disasters, Accidents and Catastrophes have been organizing rescue and evacuation of affected families.

The State Civil Protection Agency, Ministry of Interior, Water Supply and Canalization Company Emergency Teams, the Electricity Supply Company Emergency Units, the Regional Road Services, public and private companies with their staff and equipment participate in the rescue and emergency recovery works.

6. The State Civil Protection Agency has distributed 27 wagons, 13 tents, 990 blankets, 200 portable beds, 560 mattresses, 1,000 items of table ware and 400 sets of clothes and shoes among the families most heavily affected by the disaster. Expert Committees, assessing the damages, have been set up in the affected municipalities. The Red Cross Bulgaria with the support from the IFRC and Red Cross US is also distributing relief items to affected areas (covering approximately 5,000 families). The Ministry of Health ensures epidemiological surveillance through the local branches on hygiene and epidemiology.

UN response

7. The Government on 11 July contacted the UN Country Team with a request for support. Based on an assessment of the situation in cooperation with the Government and NGOs and other international organizations involved in relief operations the following has been the response up to date:

- The UN Country Team found that the most urgent needs are related to: provision of assistance to the Government in filling gaps with equipment for the mitigation of the consequences of the floods, prevention of water borne diseases as well as relief assistance to about 10,000 families which have been displaced as their houses have been completely or partially destroyed.

- The World Health Organization is providing technical assistance in planning the response and conducting assessment of the situation in the field.

- UNICEF is planning a supply early next week focusing on safety of water and prevention of water borne diseases.

- UNHCR and UNDP are revising their possibilities for support.

International Assistance

8. The European Commission Monitoring and Information Centre has activated an appeal to its member states.

OCHA is monitoring the situation and will revert with further information as it becomes available.

This Situation Report and information on ongoing emergencies is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at http://www.reliefweb.int.

MAP - Bulgaria: Floods - Situation map

Tel. +41-22-917 1234
Fax: +41-22-917 00 23
E-mail: ochagva@un.org

In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10

Desk Officers:

Ms. Charlotta Benedek
Direct Tel. +41-22-917 1205
E-mail: benedek@un.org

Mr. Ricardo Mena
Direct Tel. +41-22-917 1455
E-mail: menar@un.org

Press contact:

(GVA) Ms. Elizabeth Byrs, Direct Tel. +41-22-917 2653
(N.Y.) Ms. Stephanie Bunker, Direct Tel. +1-917-892 1669


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.