11 August 2005

United Nations Assists Bulgaria after Heavy Floods

NEW YORK, 10 August (OCHA) -- The United Nations is providing emergency assistance to Bulgaria in response to recent, heavy flooding in that country.  Heavy rains in recent days have worsened an already critical flood situation, prompting the evacuation of some 12,000 individuals.  Hundreds of houses have been flooded, and parts of the country’s highway and railway system have been blocked, rendering some villages inaccessible by land.

The Government has declared a state of disaster in 22 municipalities in the districts of Dolna Banya, Ihtiman, Kostenets, Gorna Malina, Botevgrad, Svoge, and Sofia.  Further intensifying its efforts to provide emergency shelter and food to the displaced, the Government has mobilized all national capacities, including relevant ministries, the armed forces, non-governmental organizations, and private and public companies.

The Government has noted unmet needs in the areas of provision of food assistance, clothing and bedding, and health supplies for some 20,000 individuals.  Additional supplies are also needed to help clean up flooded areas, including pumps, portable electricity sources, and engines for inflatable boats.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has made a $30,000 emergency grant to the office of the Resident Coordinator for emergency response coordination.  The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will also provide an emergency cash grant.  The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has provided household items such as blankets, kitchen utensils, water sets and containers, water purification tablets and rehydration salts.

Emergency assistance has also been provided by neighbouring countries, including Austria, Czech Republic, Republic of Moldova, Slovakia, Switzerland and the United States.

For further information, please call:  Stephanie Bunker, OCHA NY, tel.: 917 367 5126, mobile: 917-892-1679; Vanessa Huguenin, OCHA-Geneva, tel.: +41 22 917 18 91.

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