Bulgaria continues to grapple with power cuts, travel problems after heavy snowfalls
The municipality of Dulovo in the Silistra region of north-eastern Bulgaria declared a state of emergency on January 18 because of power cuts in half of the villages in the municipality, difficulties with road travel and problems in food supply to some villages.
This was among the continuing problems in the aftermath of the heavy snowfall that hit Bulgaria over the past weekend, disrupting power supplies and road travel in several places. January 18 brought strong winds in several regions of the country, causing blizzards and snow drifts.
A number of municipalities in north-eastern Bulgaria lacked electricity. Traffic conditions throughout the Silistra region were difficult, public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television said.
Lazar Lazarov, head of the Road Infrastructure Agency, said that mountain passes in Bulgaria had been cleared of snow and the situation at border crossing was normal.
Lazarov said that the road traffic situation was most serious in north-eastern Bulgaria, especially in the districts of Razgrad and Shoumen, where most third-class roads remained closed to lorry traffic, and some of them closed altogether.
He said that traffic on the Shoumen – Silistra and Razgrad – Rouss was being regulated because of low visibility and continuing wind that caused snowdrifts.
In the capital city Sofia, many neighbourhood streets still had not been cleaned and there were some problems on major arteries too. Two hundred snow-cleaning machines had been operating all night and into Monday clearing the main streets in the capital city. Public transport was reported to be moving normally, with slight delays.
Energy distribution company EVN said in a 4.30pm update that the power supply situation in south-eastern Bulgaria had improved, and in villages where it would not be possible to restore normal power supply by the end of the day, generators would be provided as a temporary measure. However, EVN expected to restore electricity to most of the villages by the end of the day.
Most of the villages with power supply problems in the area for which EVN is responsible were in the Plovdiv district.
EVN said that it had a total of 115 emergency teams working to restore electricity supply. The teams were equipped with off-road vehicles and specialist equipment. EVN’s crisis staff was in contact with local and national authorities, the company said.
Weather forecasters did not expect significant snowfalls in the coming week but temperatures across Bulgaria were expected to remain below freezing point in the next few days.