Bulgaria’s June floods: Volunteer wants emergency number 112 prosecuted

One of the volunteers involved in the rescue efforts after the June 19 deadly floods says that he intends taking court action against emergency number 112 for what he alleges to be criminal inaction and refusal of assistance by staff of the emergency number.

The June 19 deluge caused 16 deaths, most in Varna’s low-lying Asparouhovo area, as well as in Dobrich and in a village in the Shoumen area, while the Veliko Turnovo area also was seriously affected.

Milen Angelov, who was a volunteer during rescue efforts in Veliko Turnovo, asked for air assistance on the night of the flooding while he was part of a bid to save people trapped in a car on a flooded road.

Angelov, a lifeguard and a volunteer with the Bulgarian Red Cross who gained experience in rescue situations while serving with a police force in the United States, told Bulgarian National Television that he called 112 and asked for air support because firefighters at the scene lacked the equipment necessary to carry out the rescue.

He alleged that the person who answered the phone was unco-operative and the situation was saved only when a friend arrived who had a jeep with equipment that could be used to rescue those trapped in the car.

Angelov said that he was approaching prosecutors for action against the emergency number staff. Representatives of the emergency number have not yet commented.

Meanwhile, on July 2, representatives of the Bulgarian Charities Aid Foundation, the Bulgarian Donors Forum and the Bulgarian Red Cross held a meeting to discuss co-ordination between the organisations to adequately support flood victims in Bulgaria.

The organisations will work together to maximise the efficient allocation of donations, according to a statement after the meeting.

Donor support was still required, the statement said. Immediately after the floods, two separate SMS and bank account campaigns were set up – one the campaign to raise money through text messages reading “DMS Varna” to the number 17 777 and the other by sending a text to the number 1466.

Also on July 2, it emerged that the new security strategy for Sofia envisages boosting public security and disaster response by placing closed-circuit television in all schools and kindergartens, an early-warning system for floods and developing training for people in responding to disasters.

The document, covering the period up to 2020, envisages that by 2018, all 390 schools and kindergartens will have surveillance cameras.

The security strategy, also intended against crime, envisages placing further cameras in areas with a high risk of crime, mainly areas such as public parks, underpasses and parts of the Sofia city centre.



The Sofia Globe staff

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