Bulgaria shelters more than 30,000 Ukrainian refugees

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Amid the conflict in Ukraine, 69,735 people have entered Bulgaria, of which 33,516 have remained in Bulgaria, with 1/3 being children.

This was announced at a briefing at the Council of Ministers by Deputy Prime Minister for Effective Governance Kalina Konstantinova, head of the Operational Coordination Group, which plans and organizes the actions of state institutions for the evacuation and accommodation of those arriving in Bulgaria after the war in Ukraine.

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The priority of the Bulgarian government is security, Konstantinova added.

“People are currently entering visa-free regimes in our country, and the models that have been created so far for the work of the institutions are not applicable.

We have the challenge to change almost the entire model and way of working”, said the head of the crisis headquarters, Colonel Valeri Rachev.

“What we have created starts from preliminary reception points, which are not at the border checkpoints, because they have a different function—the issue documents to anyone who seeks temporary protection. From there, people have to leave with the status to use it immediately,” he added.

According to him, the second component in the prepared model is entirely new. “It is related to the management of the process of transportation, accommodation and subsequent job offers. Special software is being written for this,” said Valeri Rachev.

“There is a three-tier organization for transport. Twelve buses of the Ministry of Defense are working continuously; we are also working with private carriers who will take the traffic in cases of significant traffic when crossing the border,” he added.

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“At the district and municipal level, the entire local capacity must be organized, all local representations of institutions there and volunteers. The main problems are being solved there,” said the head of the crisis headquarters.

Rachev said that about 1,100 people are currently accommodated in state and municipal structures, and those in hotels are about 2,500. “These data are incredibly approximate because the dynamics are very high.

We have people who spend the night for a day or two. In total, so far, we have realized about 10,000 nights in structures where we have placed people. This number does not include Ukrainians who have reserved their accommodation and paid for it,” Rachev said.

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