Flooding on Bulgaria’s coast: ‘Rainfall like no one has seen’

Heavy rains have caused what local media called “unprecedented” flooding in Bulgaria’s southern Black Sea cities and resorts, with Tsarevo – where a state of emergency was declared on September 5 – the hardest-hit.

Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov was expected to visit the area to inspect the situation, Bulgarian National Television said. Denkov is expected to give a news conference at 7pm.

As of mid-afternoon on September 5, there were no reports of lives lost.

Residents and tourists have been urged to go to the upper floors of buildings, while some cars are under water with only their roofs visible, and there have been reports of cars being swept into the sea.

Tsarevo mayor Georgi Lapchev declared a state of emergency in the municipality, and has ordered an evacuation of some of the residents of areas inundated by the floodwaters.

A crisis headquarters has been set up, and deployment of assistance by Interior Ministry personnel from Bourgas and neighbouring districts was expected.

Lapchev told Bulgarian National Radio: “The two reservoirs in Tsarevo municipality are overflowing. We will inform the people in Lozenets to be extremely vigilant and to withdraw to the higher parts”.

“The amount of rainfall that has fallen is like no one has seen,” Lapchev said.

“We have broken bridges and a whole village, Kosti, which is currently under water. We have started evacuating people. There are also cars hit by the tidal wave, which came very quickly . The water keeps coming,” he said.

“The rain does not stop. We are witnessing pictures that no one has ever imagined. They are also looking for the driver of a car who is supposed to have fallen into one of the ravines,” Lapchev said.

The Ministry of Tourism issued a statement on September 5 urging people not to try to evacuate on their own.

“Evacuation will be carried out only where it is necessary at the moment, organised by the crisis headquarters in the city,” the ministry said.

The water at the Arapya campsite has reached two metres, reports said.

Varvara mayor Bistra Dimova said that there were flooded houses and cars swept into the sea.

Efforts were underway in Varvara to unclog a gully to prevent the destruction of a bridge and to prevent the water from flooding a local church.

Traffic on the Tsarevo-Varvara road was temporarily restricted in both directions because of flooding.

The main road between Tsarevo and Sinemorets is closed to traffic.

A team from the Bourgas regional organisation of the Bulgarian Red Cross was travelling to the most affected settlements. The organisation was ready to help the most affected with drinking water, snacks and blankets.

A statement by power distributor EVN said that teams from Elektrorazpradelenie Yug were working to deal with the consequences of the heavy rains and flooding.

As of 2pm on September 5, the central part of Tsarevo, as well as the area of the Nestinarka campsite, were partially without power, the statement said.

Due to an overhead power line broken by the storm, the villages of Kosti, Brodilovo, as well as Ahtopol, Varvara and Rezovo had no electricity as of 2pm.

The work of the teams was being hindered by the closed roads and impossibility of accessing some places, the statement said.

(Photo: Tourism Ministry)

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