Bulgarian weather forecasters have gone public with a statement saying that “systematic under-funding” will make it impossible for them to carry out their tasks, including warning people of impending dangerous weather.
“This directly concerns national security and all sectors of the country’s economy, as well as the protection of people’s lives, livelihoods and property from the risks associated with natural disasters of hydrometeorological origin,” a statement posted on the website of the National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (NIMH) at the Bulgarian Academy of Science said.
The statement is addressed to the chairperson of the general assembly of the Bulgarian Academy of Science, Professor Evelina Slavcheva, and the president of the academy, Yulian Revalski.
It said that the systematic under-funding of the Bulgarian Academy of Science in recent years had brought the functioning of the National Hydrometerogical Service of Bulgaria to a “critical point”.
The statement said that NIMH staff had protested, which had led to the government allocating a further 15 million leva.
Together with the increase in the budget for the Bulgarian Academy of Science, this represented 25 per cent more funds compared with 2017.
However, it added that if the general assembly of the academy accepted the proposal by the executive board, the budget subsidy for NIMH would be 8.7 million leva, effectively 12 per cent lower than in 2017.
“In this regard, we declare that in the situation created, NIMH will not be able to fulfill its obligations as National Hydrometeorological Service of the Republic of Bulgaria, defined in a number of laws and regulations.”
The statement said that the weather forecasters would be obliged to inform the government, district governors and mayors, as well as the public through the media, that they would have to substantially reduce the performance of their obligations to the institutions and the public.
They called for the additional funds that had not been provided to them by the academy.
“The scientists and the operational structure of NIMH in Sofia and the country are ready to take adequate forms of protest as a last resort to rescue their activities,” the statement said.
(Photo: Nate Brelsford/sxc.hu)