Southern Bulgaria on slow path to recovery after heavy snowfall crisis
Emergency efforts were continuing on March 10 to restore power to parts of southern Bulgaria hardest-hit by the vast tonnage of snow in recent days.
Bulgarian National Radio reported Purvan Sekiranov of the fire safety and population protection directorate as saying that in the area where EVN is the electricity distributor, 30 municipalities had no power supply, while in the area supplied by CEZ, 44 settlements had no power.
Sekiranov said that a request had been received from the regional governor of Kurdzhali, among the places hardest-hit by the heavy snowfall, for a helicopter to transport patients in need of medical care, especially patients where transport by heavy-duty tracked vehicles was inadvisable.
Separately, EVN said in a mid-morning statement on March 10 that it expected that the day would see electricity supply restored to a large number of people in the municipalities of Velingrad, Rakitovo, Madan, Roudozem, Banite, Nedelino and Ardino.
Reports on March 10 said that several minor roads in the Kurdzhali area remained impassable because of fallen trees brought down by the weight of snow. Work was continuing to clear the Kurdzhali – Plovdiv road.
Near Ardino, snowdrifts reached four to five metres.
The Bulgarian Red Cross was supplying humanitarian assistance in villages, using rugged-terrain vehicles to distribute food, medicines and drinking water.
On March 10, the Ivailovgrad municipality declared an emergency, with the Ivailovgrad dam overflowing for a third day, although the municipality added that the overflow was not endangering residents of the area. Two other major dams, Kurdzhali and Studen Kladenets, still had sufficient capacity, authorities said.
In a Brestovitsa village, 12 people, including two children, were reported stranded for a third day.
Emergency teams were trying to reach them on an 11km road impassable because in places the snow was as deep as two metres. An attempt was to be made to reach them by snowmobile but the wet snow made movement extremely difficult.
March 10 saw the second train accident in two consecutive days attributed to the bad weather conditions.
A train travelling between Gorna Oryahovitsa and Stara Zagora was partially derailed after being hit by falling rocks. No one was injured.
On March 9, a train travelling between Sofia and Mezdra was derailed after being hit by a huge rock. No one was injured but the train was seriously damaged.
Weather forecasters said on March 10 that bad weather should be expected until the end of the week, although snow and rain would stop for some days, resuming on Saturday.
Over the next 14 days, weather would gradually warm and the start of astronomical spring on March 20 probably would see weather of a warmth typical for the new season.