site.btaUPDATED Interior Minister: Bulgaria Sends 4.5 Tonnes of Aid to Syria, Was First to Raise Matter before EC
Bulgaria is sending 4.5 tonnes of aid to Syria, including tents, beds, bedding, and blankets, Caretaker Interior Minister Ivan Demerdzhiev told BTA in relation to the caretaker cabinet’s decision to provide humanitarian aid to Syria after the earthquakes of February 6. Bulgaria was the first country to raise the question about humanitarian aid to Syria before the European Commission, the Minister also said.
In his words, the procedure began with a February 8 conversation with the European Commissioner for Crisis Management, who explained the mechanism for getting the aid to Syria. In this case, the aid will go though Lebanon, Demerdzhiev specified. If the mission is successful, Bulgaria is ready to send more aid to the quakes-hit areas.
A Spartan military aircraft will transport the aid, provided by the Bulgarian Red Cross and the Interior Ministry’s Fire Safety and Population Protection Directorate General.
Asked whether the institutions, particularly the Interior Ministry and the Fire Safety and Population Protection Directorate General, are ready for a potential strong earthquake in Bulgaria, the Minister told BTA that a review of the plans for action and protection in case of disaster was launched last year when he took office. There were many lapses, he noted. “At present, I can say that almost all plans have been put in working order. Trainings were held,” he added. Actions have been taken to repair part of the disaster shelters. “We are much better prepared for disasters and accidents compared to the situation six months ago,” he said.
He expects fewer damages in Bulgaria in case of a strong earthquake. Rules and norms have existed in his country for a long time that ensure the buildings can withstand serious quakes, he added.