398 Asylum-Seekers Enter Bulgaria in 24 H

Society | October 21, 2013, Monday // 15:48
398 Asylum-Seekers Enter Bulgaria in 24 H: 398 Asylum-Seekers Enter Bulgaria in 24 H Bulgarian border police are on high alert over the refugee influx from Syria. File photo by BGNES

A total of 398 asylum-seekers have entered Bulgaria once again through its border with Turkey over the past 24 hours, according to the Bulgarian Interior Ministry.

The Bulgarian border police reports that 245 of the asylum-seekers were Syrian nationals.

Bulgaria has the capacity to accommodate about 5 000, while over 6 500 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. Some even forecast 15 000 to 19 000.

The total capacity of 4 090 in the shelters under the authority of the Interior Ministry and the State Agency for Refugees has been exceeded by 327 beds. The Agency is working on easing the red tape and shortening the procedure to grant asylum status of foreigners in Bulgaria.

A key problem for the Regional Directorate of the Elhovo Border Police is the inability to timely accommodate persons with expired detention warrants. These warrants are issued by the transit centers of the State Agency for Refugees and specialized homes of the Migration Directorate under the Ministry of Interior.

Security at border has been upped by border police from other parts of the country. Additional staff to process documents has been sent as well.

The Bulgarian State is about to undertake very serious measures in the direction of a clampdown at the southern border, stated the Minister of Defense Angel Naydenov, after Monday's extraordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers to debate the issue of the refugee wave in the country, caused by the Syrian conflict.

The measures include sending back refugees trying to enter the Bulgarian territory from Turkey or, at least, redirecting them to regular border crossing checkpoints.

Security at the border has been upped by border police from other parts of the country. Additional staff to process documents has been sent as well. The country is also considering building a wire fence on the Turkish border.

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 and will receive EU aid in order to deal with the ongoing refugee influx.

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Tags: Syrian nationals, State Agency for Refugees, interior ministry, refugee, shelters, asylum seekers, Regional Directorate, Elhovo, Border Police, Migration Directorate, asylum seekers, Angel Naydenov, Defense Minister, Syrian conflict

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