EC proposes 10.5M euro from Solidarity Fund to aid Bulgaria recover from June 2014 floods

Written by on October 10, 2014 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on EC proposes 10.5M euro from Solidarity Fund to aid Bulgaria recover from June 2014 floods

The European Commission has proposed granting 10.5 million euro to Bulgaria to help cover emergency costs in dealing with the floods that hit parts of the country in June 2014 and to restore vital infrastructure and services.

The October 10 announcement said that an aid package worth close to 80 million euro was being proposed for Bulgaria, Serbia and Croatia to help cover costs from the May and June 2014 floods.

The proposed aid for Serbia is 60.2 million euro and for Croatia, 8.96 million euro.

The Solidarity Fund aid is to help cover part of the emergency costs incurred by the public authorities in these three countries because of the disasters, the European Commission said.

“In particular, it will help to restore vital infrastructure and services, reimburse the cost of emergency and rescue operations, and help cover some of the clean-up costs in the disaster-stricken regions.”

In Bulgaria, about 311 million euro in damage was reported, above the threshold for assistance from the fund.

Flooding on June 19 2014 significantly affected the Eastern, North-Eastern and Central parts of the Bulgaria.

The regions of Varna, Dobrich, Gabrovo, Veliko Turnovo, Bourgas, Montana, Kyustendil, Plovdiv, Haskovo, Yambol and the Sofia-region suffered most.

In the coastal municipality of Asparuhovo (Varna) heavy rainfall and a tidal wave destroyed houses and farms, flooded buildings and streets and destroyed cars.

Electricity and communication networks throughout the region were disrupted.

Fifteen casualties were reported, while hundreds had to be evacuated and temporarily housed.

There was damage to the public infrastructure and facilities in the areas of energy, water and water resources, telecommunications, transport, health, education, emergency services, cultural heritage and protected natural areas, the European Commission noted.

European Regional Policy Commissioner Johannes Hahn said that the amounts for the three countries were specific and targeted to help address the immediate and direct impact of natural disasters.

“We also reformed the EU Solidarity Fund rules which entered into force on June 28 2014 and simplified the existing system and criteria so that aid can be paid out more rapidly than before. Now we trust member states will also show solidarity and stand by their commitments in swiftly agreeing the funds set aside for this purpose.”

The support, under the European Solidarity Fund, still needs to be approved by the European Parliament and the European Council. An amending budget is likely to be proposed by the commission in the coming days.

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