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Bulgarian flood clean-up starts

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Bulgarian flood clean-up starts
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A massive clean-up operation has begun in Bulgaria following flash floods which left at least a dozen people dead.

The government has declared a state of emergency following Thursday’s freak weather which caused havoc in the east of the country.

The full cost of the destruction has yet to be counted but the EU’s Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response chief Kristalina Georgieva promised help.

“I have already spoken to Commissioner Hahn and there’s an understanding that it’s really important to quickly get approval for financing to be used, so that the roads can be restored, so that the people can feel they’re not alone at this moment,” she said.

The Black Sea resort of Varna saw extensive damage, particularly the town’s low-lying suburb of Aspruhovo.

The torrential rain swept away cars, destroyed homes and forced residents to flee to rooftops during the height of the floods.

Visiting the town, Bulgaria’s President Rosen Plevneliev said: ‘‘What I have seen is a nation which shows solidarity, a proud nation, when hard times come, when it’s difficult, the nation mobilises. But that’s also the job of the authorities. People are collecting money, they’re coming here with picks and shovels. They are working day and night. The authorities need to organise and help support them. There should be meaningful not meaningless work.’‘

Away from the clean-up, volunteers have begun organising help for the flood victims.

In the capital Sofia, food and other aid supplies are being collected to send to the east.