On Thursday, June 19, there have been hailstorms and heavy rain in several parts of Bulgaria. In the regions of Varna and Burgas, the equivalent of a month’s rain fell within 24 hours. This led to heavy floods.
At least 12 people lost their life, thousands were left without electricity or food. Many houses were severely damaged or even completely destroyed, cars were swept away by fast-rising flood waters, and many people had to clamber on to their roofs to escape the floods.
The kindergarten in the basement of Varna UMC was flooded with water breaking in from the sewerage system. The floor and parts of the furniture were destroyed. In Dobrich, the houses of four United Methodist families were heavily damaged, and the furniture was almost completely destroyed. Right now these families are hosted in the houses of other church members.
The United Methodist Church in Bulgaria observed June 22 as a Day of prayer and support for the people affected by the floods in Varna, Dobrich, and other regions of the country. It was organized following an official letter of Superintendent Daniel Topalski to the local congregations. In addition, the letter appealed for financial support to be especially gathered during the Sunday worship services.
This money will particularly be used to help the affected families in Dobrich. The idea of the United Methodist leaders is to buy materials and to organize a team of volunteers from the local congregations in the same area under the direct supervision of pastor Mehmed Stefanov (Turkish speaking congregation) and pastor Milen Stefanov (Bulgarian speaking congregation). The team will do some basic, absolutely necessary renovation works to make the houses useable again. Afterwards the leaders will distribute some beds and basic furniture gathered by the church members.
In the midst of this disaster, there were encouraging signs of hope, as well. Superintendent Daniel Topalski said: «We received many letters from friends and partners from Europe and USA who are ready to help. The feeling of being part of such a church family cannot be overestimated.»
Source: Superintendent Daniel Topalski, Bulgaria / Office of Bishop Patrick Streiff, Switzerland
Date: June 25, 2014