Bulgarian Doctors Alert of Health Risks over Refugee Wave
Bulgarian doctors have alerted about the threat of epidemics in Sofia districts where refugees are sheltered.
The biggest threat is posed by the shelter in the Sofia district of Vrazhdebna, where representatives of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee found stark violations of hygiene rules and deplorable conditions. The shelter is already infected with fleas, lice and worms, reported bTV.
All women and children are reported to be in distress. They are starving, cannot bathe, have no sanitation and hygiene consumables.
"If the bathrooms in Vrazhdebna don't get disinfected, there is a real health risk of hepatitis and dysentery," warned pediatrician Dr. Lyudmila Bazhdarova.
The State gives refugees BGN 65 a month each in spending money, but, according to the bTV report, they use it to buy medications for their children.
Bulgaria has the capacity to accommodate about 5 000, while over 6 000 refugees have arrived in the country since the beginning of 2013, with local authorities expecting the number to exceed 11 000 by the end of the year.
The total capacity of 3 350 in the shelters under the authority of the Interior Ministry and the State Agency for Refugees has been exceeded by 129 beds.
Over 2 000 refugees are accommodated in the three Sofia shelters – in the districts of Ovcha Kupel, Voenna Rampa and Vrazhdebna. The City Hall announced after an emergency sitting that the capital would no longer accept asylum seekers and would rather focus on improving the conditions in the shelters, which have have been largely described as deplorable.
Bulgaria is the gateway to the European Union for refugees fleeing Syria via Turkey, many crossing the border illegally to seek asylum.
The country has asked for EU aid in order to deal with the ongoing refugee influx caused by the Syrian conflict.
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