In the past week, about 20 000 Ukrainians have been registered for temporary protection in Bulgaria, bringing the total to 51 759 since Russia’s current war on Ukraine began.
According to the dedicated government portal, since February 24, a total of 159 642 Ukrainians have entered Bulgaria and 72 588 remain.
Twenty-five thousand are children.
Bulgarian National Radio reported Bulgaria’s authorities as saying that in recent days, there had been an increase in the flow of refugees to European Union countries.
This comes against the background of repeated targeting of civilians in Ukraine by Russian military forces.
Valeri Rachev, head of Bulgaria’s crisis staff on refugees from Ukraine, said that there were more than seven million internally displaced people in Ukraine who could flee the country at any time.
The International Organization for Migration said that as of April 1, there were 7.14 million internally displaced people in Ukraine.
The UN Refugee Agency said that as of April 8, more than 4.4 million people had fled Ukraine.
The top three countries that they had fled to were Poland (more than 2.56 million), Romania (678 081) and Hungary (413 888).
Bulgarian National Radio reported on the afternoon of April 9 that 12 buses with more than 500 Ukrainians citizens were waiting at the temporary protection registration point at the Durankulak border checkpoint.
The flow of refugees from the war in Ukraine had doubled in the past 24 hours, while there were only five checkpoints at the border, the report said.
It said that those entering Bulgaria through the Durankulak border checkpoint had to wait for more than 10 hours to register for temporary protection.
Those receiving them at the border to assist with their applications are all volunteers, from the Bulgarian Red Cross and other NGOs.
Bulgarian National Radio quoted the Bulgarian Red Cross’s Georgi Georgiev as saying that the refugees, tired, with small children, wanted to complain to the Ukrainian embassy about the situation at the border checkpoint.
The volunteers also appealed for help from the state to provide food and hygiene materials.
“Everything is just volunteers and non-governmental organisations. The state has not delivered anything so far,” Georgiev said.
(Photo, from a Bulgarian language course organised by the Kurdzhali regional office of the Bulgarian Red Cross, via the Facebook page of the BRC)
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