Bulgaria's Mizia Is a City Under Water After Heavy Flooding

Collecting food and water with names of the people who help and send aid. (Facebook.)

Collecting food and water to send as aid to flood victims. (Facebook.)

Bulgaria avoided the worst of the damage wrought by catastrophic floods in May 2014, when Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, and other areas saw several deaths and billions of euros in property destruction. Thanks to a mammoth downpour at the end of July, however, Bulgaria now joins its neighbors in suffering mass flooding. 

During the first rains in early June, flooding hit Bulgaria's third largest city, Varna, an important strategic port and economic center. Dozens of people lost their lives an many buildings were damaged, causing several millions of euros in estimated property damage. Heavy flooding reached other cities, like Veliko Tarnovo and Dobric, as well.

After Varna, Bulgaria witnessed a second wave of floods, this time more damaging than the first. Hundreds of people lost their homes in the northwestern city of Mizia, when unrelenting rain caused the Skat River to overflow. More than 100 houses were destroyed or severely damaged, with repair costs again expected to run millions of euros. Civil protection units evacuated the city of more than 500 residents, reporting 2 fatalities and 10 missing persons.

A 16-foot wave hit a town with 4,000 people. It's the apocalypse in Mizia. http://t.co/nZ2WUa2tUO Helicopters ‘Cougar’ help pic.twitter.com/GyDRVN8mdr

— İnterfree (@gunerih) August 4, 2014

Mizia is located on a plain, with several dams built around the city. Local residents say the authorities reacted too slowly to repair several leaks in the dams—an accusation state officials deny. Mizia's residents have also expressed concerns about the disorganization of the government's flood relief efforts, which the country's Civil Protection agency is managing with help from the Bulgarian Red Cross, local firefighters, and civilian volunteers. (At the moment, Bulgaria has no elected government in place, as the former administration resigned on July 23, 2014, leaving in place a caretaker cabinet until the next election.)

One Bulgarian news site tweeted aerial images of the flood damage in Mizia:

GALLERY: A bird's eye view of the disaster in Mizia. http://t.co/TDkOFXpfcB pic.twitter.com/SBuOFbs506

— Vevestibg (@vevestibg) August 3, 2014

Bulgarians have created a Facebook group to coordinate the collection of aid for flood victims in Mizia. The group is gathering information about what Mizia locals most need right now: food and bottled water, administrators say. The Bulgarian Red Cross has promised volunteers, emergency aid, and financial support. The Red Cross has also established a fundraising campaign to amass humanitarian and financial aid for those affected by Bulgaria's flooding.

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