Bulgaria: Dam bursts from heavy rains, floods kill 8


A woman looks through an icy window on a tram in Sofia on January 31, 2012. Record low temperatures were registered around Bulgaria on Tuesday, threatening shipping on the Danube and closing hundreds of schools.



A dam in Bulgaria broke on Monday from days of heavy rain and melting snow, causing a flood to rip through a village along the Greek border, killing at least eight people and leaving 10 missing, the Associated Press reported.

When the dam on the Ivanovo Reservoir collapsed, an eight-foot-high torrent surged through the village of Bisser in southern Bulgaria, drowning four people, Reuters reported. Another four people died in floods when their cars were swept away by the high waters. Three of the bodies found in the water were elderly men, the Bisser mayor said.

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Many Bisser residents had to be rescued from their flooded homes and spent the night in emergency shelters.

"There are demolished houses and people in distress," the interior ministry said, Reuters reported. The country has warned its neighbors, Greece and Turkeys, that another two dams were expected to overflow on Monday, too.

A state of emergency has been declared in most of southern Bulgaria and Prime Minister Boiko Borisov and Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov visited the flooded region on Monday, the AP reported. Train services have been suspended and many roads remain closed in southern Bulgaria.

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Landslides caused by the heavy rains also caused an Istanbul-bound train to derail near the border of the town Svilengrad, which left passengers stranded for hours. No one was injured.

Russia sent more gas supplies to the European Union over the weekend, but still not enough, Reuters reported. Italy brought a crisis committee together in hopes of handling the critical shortages of Russian gas.

Europe has been hit with a cold snap since mid-January, leaving many dead in Eastern Europe. Over the weekend nine more people died in Poland due to the freezing weather, bringing the country’s death total to 62, Reuters reported.

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