Floods at Bulgaria’s coast: Two dead, two missing, more than 130 evacuated

Two people are dead, two missing, and more than 130 people have been evacuated as heavy rains unleashed flooding on Bulgaria’s southern Black Sea coast on September 5, sweeping cars and caravans into the sea and inundating housing, hotels and campsites in parts of the region.

A man and a woman died in the floods in Tsarevo, mayor Georgi Lapchev, told Bulgarian National Television on September 5. Two more people were being sought, he said. The identity of the dead has not been announced.

Earlier, a search was launched for three people swept away by floodwaters. Two of the missing are a woman and her child, who were swept away in their car as she attempted to cross a damaged bridge. A man who came to the bridge a little later also was swept away, eyewitnesses were quoted as saying.

Earlier, Bulgaria’s weather bureau had issued a Code Orange warning of dangerous weather for the Bourgas district because of forecast heavy rain. Local authorities and residents expressed shock at the several hours of continuous rain and rapid rise of the floodwaters.

Bourgas district governor Plamen Yanev said that there had been a call to universal emergency number 112 saying that a car with two passengers, as well as a pedestrian, had been swept away by rising water on a bridge.

The Arapya and Oasis campsites, and the village of Kosti in the Strandzha area, were underwater.

In Lozenets, 60 people had been evacuated and accommodated in a municipal hall, reports said.

A meeting of the municipal crisis staff in Tsarevo, in which Yanev participated, was told that Ahtopol, Varvara, Sinemorets and Resovo were cut off because bridges had been destroyed by powerful floodwaters.

Earlier, Tsarevo mayor Lapchev declared a state of emergency in the municipality.

A meeting of the crisis staff in Tsarevo was to be held at 6pm, in which Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov is to participate, with a news conference to follow at 7pm.

A Bulgarian government media statement on September 5 said that teams from the Interior Ministry’s fire safety and civil defence directorate were already on site, as well as personnel from Defence Ministry formations.

The statement said that the Cabinet was in constant contract with Tsarevo mayor Lapchev and district governor Yanev.

The Ministries of Transport and Communications, Regional Development and Public Works, Environment and Water were also helping in the fight against the disaster, the government statement said. The Social Assistance Agency was sending teams to inspect the damage and prepare assistance for the victims.

Many of the settlements by the sea, which are in Tsarevo municipality, are without electricity.

Tsarevo municipality called on people to stay in their homes until the situation normalises.

Sinemorets deputy mayor Kostadin Dikov said: “The level is starting to drop. The estuaries are open and the water will start to flow out. We have no electricity in the whole village. The EVN team cannot enter the village because of the overflowing river”.

In the area of the Lozenets resort village, it was continuing to rain, Doncho Boradzhiev, who was at a nearby campsite, told local media. He said that in 30 years of camping and hiking, he had never seen a storm endure for so long, with heavy rain alternating with downpours.

Police advised people not to travel on the road from Bourgas to the southern Black Sea coast due to the heavy rains and floods.

Two landslides blocked the Tsarevo – Malko Turnovo road.

Traffic on the Blagoevgrad-Simitli road in the Zheleznitsa-Simitli section, in the Blagoevgrad district, was temporarily restricted in both directions due to a broken down excavator.

Bourgas municipality said that it had been raining since the morning in Buorgas as well.

So far, about 15 litres a square metre had been recorded, and in the eastern part of the municipality, near the villages of Izvor and Marinka, 25 litres.

“Here the rivers are cleaned and take the water flows normally. Through its video surveillance system and the installed sensors at all water bodies, the municipality of Burgas is monitoring their level every minute and is ready to react in case of danger,” the municipality said.

(Photos via the Facebook page of Meteo Balkans)

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