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Two die, hundreds evacuated in Bulgaria floods

Two people drowned and 900 were evacuated from their homes as flooding caused by torrential rains hit northwestern Bulgaria, the interior ministry said on Sunday (Aug 3).

MIZIA: Two people drowned and 900 were evacuated from their homes as flooding caused by torrential rains hit northwestern Bulgaria, the latest in a string of such disasters since June, the interior ministry said on Sunday (Aug 3).

Over 800 residents of the town of Mizia were evacuated overnight and during the day on Sunday after the swollen river Skut submerged large parts of the town under up to three metres of water, the interior ministry said.

The bodies of a 60-year-old man and an 80-year-old woman were recovered from their inundated houses as boats and two army helicopters evacuated residents from the area, the ministry said. Several dozen houses collapsed under the strong flood wave in the small town, home to 3,200 people. Electricity was cut for safety reasons.

Aerial pictures released by the army showed vast parts of Mizia and its adjacent farmland covered in muddy waters with rooftops sticking out and no sight of roads or bridges.

Another 100 people were also evacuated in the nearby village of Krushovitsa and houses, gardens and roads in several other villages in the region were also submerged.

"Dozens of houses have collapsed, hundreds are under water. The situation is critical," the country's acting interior minister, Tsvetlin Yovchev, said.

Rescue operations were ongoing with about 300 emergency workers, firefighters, police officers and soldiers dispatched to the area. The Bulgarian Red Cross sent blankets, bedding and bread to the evacuated people and appealed for donations of bottled water.

Heavy rains have lashed northwestern Bulgaria on and off in the past weeks, prompting repeated flood alerts by the weather and rescue services. Fourteen people, including two children, had also perished when floods sparked by heavy rainfall swept through their poor neighbourhood in the Black Sea city of Varna in June. 

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