SOFIA, June 21 The torrential rain and floods
that swept Bulgaria this week have killed 12 people, wrecked
part of the Black Sea city of Varna and badly hit agriculture
and the important tourism sector, authorities said on Saturday.
The government has yet to estimate the full scale of the
damage caused when rivers burst their banks in eastern and
central Bulgaria, forcing mass evacuations, but is considering
seeking EU aid.
On Saturday, over 1,000 rescue workers and volunteers were
struggling to clear mud and rubble left by a flood surge through
a suburb of Varna that killed 11, including two children.
European Union Aid chief Kristalina Georgieva arrived in
Varna on Saturday and told reporters Bulgaria needed to produce
a plan of action quickly to avoid negative effects on the coming
There were torrential rains for a second day in a row in the
eastern region of Dobrich, where one death was reported. Army
officers and firefighters evacuated 950 tourists from two hotels
in the Black Sea resort of Albena and another 200 from villages
in the region on Friday, police said.
Up to 1,000 Romanian tourists are stranded in Albena, the
Romanian foreign ministry said on Saturday.
The resort is also popular with holidaymakers from Russia,
Ukraine, Belarus and Germany.
"There are several negative effects for the economy. Apart
from the direct damage to people, there is infrastructure that
needs to be restored," deputy Prime Minister Daniela Bobeva told
national Darik radio.
"There are problems with the crop, especially in the region
of Dobrich ... that will pose a serious problem for the
She said damage to Black Sea beaches might cause a drop in
the number of tourists visiting the country. Tourism accounts
for about 10 percent of Bulgaria's gross domestic product.
The Balkan country had been hoping for a bumper grain crop
matching at least last year's 4.6 million tonnes of wheat, but
heavy rains have delayed the harvest and strong winds have
flattened many fields.
The Association of Grain Producers of Bulgaria expects a
drop of about 15 percent to below 4.5 million tonnes due to the
bad weather and said the crop could be further hit if the rains
Bulgaria's economy grew by 1.2 percent on the year in the
first quarter. Recent political instability has also scared away
(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; additional reporting by Luiza
Ilie in Bucharest; editing by Andrew Roche)