The European Commission (EC) allocated on Thursday EUR 6.3 M from the EU Solidarity Fund to Bulgaria in order for the country to deal with the damages caused by the severe winter conditions in the beginning of the year.
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The EC allocated another EUR 9.9 M from the EU Solidarity Fund to Greece after the country suffered wide-spread flooding in the winter of 2015, which affected five of its regions.
The aid will cover part of the emergency costs of recovery operations, in particular helping to restore vital infrastructure and services, reimburse the cost of emergency and rescue operations and cover some of the clean-up costs in the affected regions.
EU Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu pointed to the EU Solidarity Fund as one of the EU’s strongest symbols of solidarity in times of need. At the end of January, parts of Bulgaria suffered from heavy rainfall, snow, floods and landslides, which caused considerable damage to public infrastructure, businesses, the agricultural sector, private homes and assets.
The southeast region of Bulgaria was the most heavily affected, with 300 buildings flooded only in the city of Burgas. Landslides destroyed vital infrastructure, many rivers burst their banks and dikes and flooded agricultural land and forests. Strong winds destroyed pine forests, caused power failures, disrupted communication networks and roads were blocked by fallen trees.
The total annual allocation available under the EU Solidarity Fund is EUR 541.2 M, but when the remainder from the previous year is added, the total amount available in 2015 is above EUR 895 M.
The aid is calculated on the basis of the total direct damage caused by a disaster and can be used only for essential emergency and recovery operations. Many of the programmes co-funded by the European Structural and Investment Funds for the 2014-2020 programme period aim to invest in flood prevention and mitigating the impact of climate change.
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