Number of Ukrainian refugees remaining in Bulgaria drops below 100 000-mark

The number of Ukrainians who have remained in Bulgaria after fleeing Russia’s war on their country has dropped below the 100 000-mark, to 99 193, according to a May 23 update on the dedicated government portal.

This means that more than 4000 Ukrainian refugees have left Bulgaria since May 12, when the figure for those who had entered and remained in the country was 104 235.

The trend comes with the approach of the May 31 expiry date of the current system whereby the state pays hotels 40 leva per person per day to accommodate Ukrainians who have fled the war in their country.

According to the dedicated government portal, currently 60 290 Ukrainians are accommodated.

The government’s initial intention was that from June 1, the Ukrainians would be accommodated in state and municipal facilities.

However, this has been adapted, because of a shortfall in state and municipal accommodation that has been made available.

The government is now offering hotels and guest houses 15 leva per person per day for accommodation, with three meals a day. Alternatively, the state will pay 10 leva per person per day, with no food provided.

Bulgaria’s Ministry of Tourism announced on May 22 that registration had begun for hotels to participate in the programme that will take effect after May 31. Hoteliers have until May 25 to register.

The new phase of the programme is to continue until August 31.

In spite of the short time to register, there was great interest among hoteliers in participating in the new version of the scheme, according to the government.

In the resort of Albena on Bulgaria’s northern Black Sea coast, all the hotels that took part in the first phase of the scheme were ready to continue under the new conditions. The complex accommodates more than 1500 people.

The government announced previously that to transfer Ukrainians to their new accommodation, for those moving to state and municipal facilities, it would rely mainly on rail.

On May 18, Bulgaria’s Cabinet reallocated five million leva in EU funds for resettlement and internal transport costs of Ukrainians who have temporary protection in Bulgaria.

The government last week set up a portal to survey Ukrainians to establish how many of the more 60 290 wished to be provided with accommodation under the new scheme from May 31 onwards.

(Photo: Raphael Schaller/unsplash)

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The Sofia Globe staff

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