Miziya, a town in Vratsa District, northwest Bulgaria, and the region suffered a flood on late Saturday evening and Sunday, which led to the collapse of houses, the press centre of the Interior Ministry announced.
It was announced the disaster had claimed two lives although the death toll might rise.
On late Sunday evening chief commissar Nikolay Nikolov, head of the Fire Safety and Civil Protection chief directorate, announced for FOCUS News Agency the information about the second victims had not been confirmed yet.
”There was some inaccuracy, a discrepancy in our information about a second victim. It turns out the information about the second victim has not been confirmed yet,” he said.
The first victim was a citizen of Miziya found dead inside a flooded house in the town.
According to initial information he was about 60.
“The victim was found inside by [his or her] son, who is an Interior Ministry employer in the [his or her] house. All the people in need of help are receiving it. I suppose the water will flow away not earlier than 24 hours. The situation will get more complicated when the water is no longer here. Then the search for more dead people will begin,” said chief commissar Nikolay Nikolov, head of the Fire Safety and Civil Protection chief directorate, announced for bTV.
Later the news broke there was a second victim, this time a middle-aged woman.
”Situation in Miziya is tragic. Many buildings collapsed, there are people in distress,” said mayor of the town of Miziya, northwest Bulgaria, Violin Krushovenski, speaking for Nova TV in connection with the news it had been flooded.
He remarked over 500 people had been evacuated overnight and all the possible things were done to provide what was needed despite the accessibility issues.
“The road between Miziya and Vratsa has been closed and we are only relying on the helicopters flying over Miziya,“ Krushovenski said further.
The Mayor added the situation was the same in the village of Krushovitsa, where the flood wave had come from.
“We have built levees but there was torrential rain when the water level rose, it is just nature did not favour us,“ he commented.
Krushovenski gave later an interview for FOCUS News Agency.
”We almost forcefully evacuated people seeing the big threat for their lives,” he said.
”There were people who did not want an evacuation. We transported them almost forcefully, seeing the big threat for their lives. Despite it all, these people as if displayed stubbornness. We evacuated over 600 people in total. We left them at the two ends of the city which are not flooded to provide them with the care they need, to provide them with water, food, blankets and medical aid,” he stated.
”We did our best to warn the people,” Krushovenski commented.
”Miziya was hit by a tragedy as a result of heavy rainfall and a wave formed by water coming to the region. The wave caused by the overflowing of many dams in Vratsa District hit us. Miziya is located in the lowest place in Vratsa District and here the Skat River flows into the Danube. Miziya turned out to ”meet” the wave and many houses were flooded. The level of water exceeds 2 m in some neighbourhoods, many building fell as well as many agricultural premises, probably a high number of people got injured,” Krushovenski said further.
Some parties also got involved with providing aid to the people.
The Bulgaria without Censorship party opened a crisis staff to provide coordination and collect donations for the people in Miziya, which had been struck by a flood, the party press centre announced.
Some 20 volunteers in Vratsa District went with vehicles of the Bulgaria without Censorship structures to transport mineral water to the evacuated people in the north-western town.
Bulgaria without Censorship also informed it was turning its office in Vratsa at 3 Mito Tsvetkov Street into a crisis coordination staff to which donations could be made and volunteers could enroll to take part in the rescue operation after the water level drops.
”Totyu Mladenov and other MPs with the Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (CEDB) party as well as other representatives of ours from the local authorities and the party structures are in Miziya to help tackle the hard situation,” CEDB leader and former premier, Boyko Borisov, posted on Facebook.
In his words, the CEDB arranged for a heavy-freight vehicle to transport mineral water to the affected people and they will also provide aid as MP Totyu Mladenov makes an assessment of the situation.
Borisov also wrote in Facebook post Mladenov had informed him the situation in Miziya and Byala Slatina was the most difficult.
According to Borisov, there were over 250 families in Byala Slatina that need aid, while their number in Miziya stood at over 500.
Dimitar Metodiev executive director and member of the board of directors at Napoitelni Sistemi [English: Irrigation Systems] EAD, gave an interview for FOCUS News Agency in connection with the flood.
”There is no danger of dams and facilities of Napoitelni Sistemi overflowing,” he said.
”I can only say the facilities outside the urban environment are in a good state and have not been affected. They function normally and Irrigation System and our facilities are not to blame for what happened in the towns. As a whole, the state of dams in the country is good. The water levels and facilities are monitored on a daily basis,” he said further.
”The financial state of Napoitelni Sistemi [English: Irrigation Systems] is really poor,” the official remarked.
”I would like to say the new management at Napoitelni Sistemi [English: Irrigation Systems] managed with [outgoing] Minister of Agriculture and Food, Dimitar Grekov, in only 5 months to amend the Water Act. Paragraph 4 is concerned, which already allows the activity connected with prevention of the harmful influence of water to be financed by the budget of the Republic of Bulgaria,” he remarked.
In his words, the money allocated for this activity cannot be taken for 5 months to come so that this activity is performed in a normal way.
”My employees who are in Miziya at the moment along with equipment are under the control of the district governor and the staff established and are not currently receiving salaries,” Metodiev commented.
According to him, the things happening now, which will continue to happen, could be limited to some extent but all of this costs financial resources.
”The same holds true for mayors, I cannot say what the situation in Miziya is but it is likely the mayor did not have the money so that the Skar River, which passes through the town, was cleaned. I would like to accuse anyone and I do not know if this is so but I suppose he did not have resources for that activity, either, ” the official added.
He said this activity was among the most important ones for the country and was of strategic importance.
The Bulgarian army and the Bulgarian Red Cross provided aid to the flood-hit people.