The list of municipalities and companies in Bulgaria offering help, including accommodation and job offers, to those fleeing Russia’s war on Ukraine continued to grow on February 28.
The mayor of Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia, Yordanka Fandukova, said that she had informed the Foreign Ministry of opportunities to help Ukrainians and Bulgarians living in Ukraine.
This includes accommodation for 206 Ukrainians – with 105 places in Sofia municipalities and 101 in holiday accommodation owned by the municipality in the Black Sea resort town of Primorsko.
Sofia municipality offered transport from the Ukrainian-Romanian border to Bulgaria. The municipality has made available six cars with trained drivers from the emergency aid and prevention directorate.
The places of accommodation include social services centres with facilities for mothers of children, including the provision of psychological counselling.
The after-care hospital in Pancharevo can accommodate elderly people who also need medical care.
In Plovdiv, a holding company based in the city has written to Ukrainian ambassador Vitaly Moskalenko offering housing and work to Ukrainian refugees.
The holding company said that it could provide accommodation for 50 to 60 families, as well as jobs for them in health care, construction and tourism.
The municipality of Bourgas on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast has set up a Facebook group, administered by municipal employees, to provide information to people in need of help and residents of Bourgas offering help.
Bourgas municipality also has set up three municipal food collection points.
The municipality said that it was ready to accommodate refugees at the crisis centre in Meden Rudnik, as well as in several other smaller municipal crisis centres and sheltered accommodation.
Bourgas’s crisis centre in Meden Rudnik is stocked with blankets, essential medicines, water, food, disinfectants, protective masks and Covid-19 tests, the municipality said.
The municipality will organised a study hall for pupils in the first to seventh grades, and mayor’s office staff will assist in preparing applications for admission to kindergartens and schools.
Municipal polyclinics have been alerted to provide medical assistance in case of need for those arriving in Bourgas from Ukraine.
The municipality also is ready to co-ordinate contacts between companies and job seekers.
Bulgaria’s major Black Sea city Varna, where evacuees have been arriving on buses from Ukraine’s city of Odessa, already has set up a co-ordination centre and arranged accommodation in hotels.
In Veliko Turnovo, a donation campaign resulted in four tons of food being collected.
The food will be taken by bus to Varna’s Ukrainian Cultural Centre, to be distributed at the places where Ukrainians are accommodated.
In Kyustendil, an initiative committee involving both Roma and non-Roma Bulgarians has been set up to collect and distribute donations of food and sanitary materials.
In Balchik on the Black Sea, 80 Ukrainians have been given emergency accommodation at a hotel.
The Bulgarian Orthodox Church’s Holy Assumption Monastery in Kurdzhali has made available 50 places for refugees from Ukraine.
The monastery’s Father Boyan Saraev told public radio that he would fetch refugees from Bulgaria’s Danube River city of Rousse by bus.
“They will not be left without care, we also offer them health care , shelter, food – spiritual and physical. We also have a Sunday school and a school next door where children can study,” Saraev said.
On February 28, Bulgarian National Radio reported that hundreds of Russian tourists were stranded in the mountain resort of Bansko because of the cancellation of flights, following Bulgaria closing its air space to Russian air carriers, and Russia reciprocating by closing its air space to Bulgaria.
The Russians also had problems making payments because their bank cards had ceased to function, the report said.
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