Bulgaria’s Government approved on August 29 a draft of amendments to the Municipal Property Act that will require all city and town halls to insure buildings owned by the municipalities against earthquakes and other natural disasters.
The new requirement will apply to properties categorised as public municipal property – these are generally properties that the city hall needs in order to carry out its local government duties and cannot be sold. With regards to private municipal property, municipal councils will have the freedom to decide whether to insure them as well or not.
The bill was drafted in order to reduce the impact of natural disasters and quicker recovery from damages caused by such events, the Cabinet’s media service said in a statement. It was drafted together with Bulgaria’s national association of municipalities.
Current provisions in the Municipal Property Act also require city halls to buy insurance, but do not specify against which risks the properties have to be insured.
The bill was put forth by EU Funds Minister Tomislav Donchev, who has been overseeing the recovery process in the town of Pernik, hit by an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.8 on the Richter scale on May 22.
The earthquake was the strongest recorded in Bulgaria since the 5.7-magnitude tremor in Strazhitsa in 1986. The epicentre was just outside Pernik and the town was affected the worst, with dozens of homes damaged.