Floods Kill 12 People After Torrential Rain in East Bulgaria

Surging floodwaters following record rainfall in eastern Bulgaria left at least 12 people dead and destroyed houses, roads and railroad tracks.

Ten people died and three are missing after a sudden wave of accumulated water in a ravine swept across streets in the Black Sea city of Varna, dragging cars into a sea canal and inundating homes, Interior Minister Tsvetlin Yovchev said in a live television broadcast from Varna today. Two men were found dead in the northeastern city of Dobrich.

“Intense rainfall in the past 24 hours exceeded the monthly norm of 107 liters per square meter in the areas of Dobrich and Varna,” Anastasia Stoicheva,a weather forecaster at the National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology in Sofia, said by phone today. “Rains in the east of the country will end by the end of the day today.”

Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski and Defense Minister Angel Naidenov traveled to Varna, Dobrich and Veliko Tarnovo to oversee emergency and recovery works and help organize fresh water supplies and medical aid. Some 150 people were evacuated from the Asparuhovo suburb in Varna, which was the worst hit by the flood, Yovchev said. Electricity has been shut off for safety reasons after the flood swept away two power substations in Asparuhovo, he said.

Power Outage

Floods damaged the power grid, leaving 12,000 people in eastern Bulgaria without electricity, according to Energo Pro utility. Crews are working to restore power supply. Water is subsiding and construction machines are clearing the streets of piled-up cars and debris, according to a live video broadcast on Bulgarian National Television.

“The government can provide financial aid after the damages are assessed,” Oresharski said in an e-mailed statement. “The weather forecast is not good and preventive measures must be taken to avoid further damage and casualties.”

The premier has discussed the supply of high-power water pumps with Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, according to the statement.

Rescue workers in the city of Veliko Tarnovo are pumping out water from flooded houses in the area along the Yantra River, which swelled during the night. There were no casualties there, the Interior Ministry said on its website.

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