Bulgaria’s refugee agency: About 30 000 Ukrainians to be relocated

About 30 000 Ukrainians are to be relocated as the first phase of the accommodation system comes to an end on May 31, State Agency for Refugees head Mariana Tosheva told Bulgarian National Television on May 24.

The Ukrainians, who arrived in Bulgaria after fleeing Russia’s war on their country, are to be relocated by the Transport Ministry, which will provide additional carriages on trains from the railway stations at Varna and Bourgas on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast.

The Ukrainians will be relocated to state and municipal facilities in the interior of the country in what Tosheva described as complex logistics.

Arrangements had been made for transportation from each hotel to the railway station and from the station to the places where the Ukrainians would be accommodated, Tosheva said.

The places where they will be accommodated had been checked and met the conditions, she said.

Tosheva said that there were about 100 000 Ukrainians in Bulgaria, most at the Black Sea coast, not only in hotels but also in private accommodation that they had found themselves.

She said that of the about 60 000 Ukrainians who had been accommodated with state support, some were leaving the country, others had found work, leaving 30 000 who had to be relocated.

Tosheva said that from her conversations with hoteliers, it had emerged that about 40 per cent of the 97 hotels visited would participate in the next phase of the government programme, through which the hotels would be able to receive 10 or 15 leva per person per day, depending on whether they offer food or not.

This meant that about 12 000 people would remain in their current hotel accommodation, she said.

She said that 15 leva per day without VAT was an amount almost equal to the cost for the hoteliers themselves.

A programme through which refugees who had found jobs in Bulgaria would be able to receive 400 leva support for rent via their employer was also being discussed, Tosheva said.

“The program is being detailed, it will probably go through the Employment Agency, and the amount will be given for three months,” she said.

Tosheva said that housing the Ukrainians in refugee centres was “definitely” not an option, because State Agency for Refugees centres would accept only people seeking international protection, not those who had temporary protection, such as the Ukrainians.

“It is difficult to predict a new wave of refugees coming from Ukraine. But one cannot be ruled out. Following the flows, I think we have reached the peak of refugees,” Tosheva said.

(Photo of Varna Railway Station: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)

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