Bulgaria’s Three Women Foundation, which since early March has been collecting humanitarian aid for Ukrainian refugees, has appealed in an open letter to the caretaker government to resume funding for providing meals to refugees in the state-support accommodation scheme.
The system to subsidise accommodation for Ukrainians who fled Russia’s war on their country was set up by the previous government, but in mid-November, was amended by the caretaker government to fund only accommodation, without financial support for meals.
According to the Bulgarian government information portal on Ukrainian refugees, as of December 8, a total of 9903 Ukrainians are accommodated through the scheme.
The letter said that Bulgaria had always shown the strength of its civil society at critical historical moments, and repeatedly had received and helped refugees and minorities.
“We want to believe that even today as a nation we have the strength to act morally and decently with people who need our support,” the letter said.
“It is necessary to provide food and warmth for the winter for those Ukrainians who are in state bases and for whom our help is the only way to a dignified existence.”
Only the most vulnerable groups remained in the accommodation, people without financial means, with special needs, people with disabilities, those with mobility issues, those in a poor health and mothers with many children. They are located 30km from populated areas.
The letter said that with the caretaker government’s November 15 decision, the state completely stopped feeding the refugees.
“We are watching with increasing concern the situation with the care of people who have sought refuge in our country from Russia’s war in Ukraine, and we find this yet another suspension of the humanitarian programme to be inappropriate and inadequate.”
The foundation said that it, as well as many other volunteers and organizations from all over the country, were making every possible voluntary effort to raise funds and supply the refugees with basic necessities – food, warm clothes and blankets.
It said that the summer facilities where people are accommodated are not suitable for winter living.
Local government was organizing temporary solutions for some of the places of accommodation.
In the Varna region, the delivery of food is planned by the regional administration, but only until December 23.
“Are we going to leave people without food on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day?
“We believe that government and civil society must act together and that assistance to people fleeing war cannot be left solely in the hands of the non-governmental sector and citizens,” the letter said.
“We call on the caretaker government of the Republic of Bulgaria to reconsider its decisions. It is the moral and official duty of the government today not to interrupt the long tradition of Bulgaria and its people as an enduring example of hospitality, humanity and selfless help for the suffering.”
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