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Strong Winds Claim Two Lives, Leave Roads Closed, Homes without Power

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The strong winds in the country have taken two victims, there are closed roads and settlements without electricity.
In several settlements in the Varna region the situation is complicated, Director of the General Directorate of Fire Safety and Population Protection Alexander Dzhartov told BTA. He pointed out that the situation is most severe in Aksakovo and Valchi Dol, but there are no people whose lives are in direct danger. There are closed roads and fallen trees in these parts of the country. In the Shumen region there is snow and drifts. There is no electricity in the northern part of the region. There is no information about people in distress. Also due to snowfall, passes between Shumen and Burgas are closed, Dzhartov said.
Varna Mayor Blagomir Kotsev declared a state of disaster in the municipality. "The severe weather situation has led to the loss of human life. Hurricane winds and heavy rain, in some places also snow, greatly hamper the actions of emergency teams in the dark part of the day. Power supply was disrupted in all five districts of the municipality. Tons of fallen branches and trees are blocking key roadways, destroying infrastructure and causing damage. Traffic lights and road signs, movable and immovable property have been destroyed and free movement is not possible. Vehicles and people are blocked on the territory of the municipality," reads the Mayor’s message. The municipality urged people not to leave their homes if it is not necessary. Two more municipalities in the region declared a state of calamity – Suvorovo and Valchi Dol. A 43-year-old woman from Kaspichan, who used to work in Varna, died after she was crushed by fallen tree branches from the ongoing hurricane-force winds in the town, the press centre of the Regional Police Directorate said.
Dozens of settlements in the Dobrich region are without electricity, according to energy distribution company Energo Pro. There is no power supply in parts of Balchik, the villages of Sokolovo, Dabrava and Zmeevo, in General Toshevo and the village of Malina, and in the municipality of Kavarna. The villages of Bulgarevo, Mogilite, Vidno, Irechek are also without electricity. 
The road from Shumen to Razgrad is closed due to snow, a checkpoint has been built at the road junction "Diamond" since 11 pm on Saturday, the Regional Directorate of the Ministry of Interior in Shumen told BTA. Police officers redirected drivers to a detour route through Targovishte. The Shumen-Silistra road is completely closed in the area of Hitrino due to heavy snow drifts. The road from the village of Zaychino Oreshe to Varna is also closed. A total of 31 settlements in the region are without electricity. Maintenance teams have been dispatched.
The situation in Burgas is relatively calm at the moment, the municipality said. Ten alerts have been received about fallen or leaning trees. Regional Governor of Burgas Plamen Yanev convened an urgent expert meeting of the operational headquarters in connection with the worsened weather situation, the press centre of the Regional Government reported. The wind in Tsarevo municipality is still strong. There are many fallen trees near the villages of Bulgari, Kosti and Brodilovo, the municipal administration said. Teams of the municipality and the fire service are already on the spot and clearing the blocked roads. The strong wind knocked down trees and advertising signs in Sveti Vlas, broke shop windows and street lights, a BTA reporter saw. 
More than 25 alerts of fallen trees were submitted to the hotline of Stara Zagora Municipality on Saturday, the Deputy Mayor said on Facebook. He added that active repair works have been organized.
A man also died on Saturday in Sofia. According to initial information, a tree fell from the strong wind onto a car moving on the roadway, in which a man and a woman were travelling. The 65-year-old man died on the spot and his wife is in a serious condition. She was taken to hospital for medical attention. 
Varna Airport is open, but there have been delays and cancellations, the airport’s press office told BTA. 
Some trains have been cancelled this morning because of fallen branches on the tracks, according to the Bulgarian State Railways website. Train traffic in the region has been disrupted in several places.
The ferry platform serving Oreahovo – Bechet has temporarily suspended operations due to bad weather conditions. 
Several roads in the country are closed for snow clearing, the Road Infrastructure Agency (RIA) said. The restriction applies to the Dulinsky Pass, as well as the Tervel – Kochmar road. This morning the traffic was restored through the Aitos Pass. The road Valchi Dol – General Kiselovo – Vedrino is closed for traffic. The road Valchi Dol – Suvorovo has been closed to traffic since 10 pm on Saturday. Vehicles over 12 tons are prohibited in either direction on the Varna – Dobrich road. A ban on vehicle traffic has also been imposed on the road Aksakovo – Kichevo, and Kichevo – Albena.
The road from Varna to Dobrich is open for car traffic, the road from Dobrich to Albena is passable, the road from Balchik to Dobrich is also open, the regional administration of Dobrich told BTA. Due to the strong wind and heavy snowfall, there were stranded cars until late Saturday night, and the roads are currently cleared. The movement of trucks is prohibited on the road Varna – Dobrich, and Dobrich – General Toshevo is closed due to snowfall.
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The Director of Fire Safety and Population Protection, Chief Commissioner Alexander Dzhartov, said that his teams have responded to over 300 accidents so far. He presented at a briefing information on the measures taken and actions of the teams in connection with the complicated weather situation in the northeast of the country.
Most alerts are related to the weather situation. There were over 200 emergency calls in Varna, and about 40 in Burgas, mainly about fallen trees and branches. 
In the region of Varna, all people have been evacuated from cars, additionally one chain machine remains in Aksakovo to be used if needed. The main roads Varna – Burgas, Dyulinsky Pass and Sunny Beach – Obzor, and Varna – Dobrich were closed. At 3 pm the Sunny Beach – Obzor road was opened.
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All schools in Varna Municipality will switch to distance learning in an electronic environment on Monday. The decision taken by the Minister of Education and Science, Galin Tzokov, is in connection with the declaration of a state of disaster by the Mayor of the municipality, the Ministry of Education press service reported on Sunday.
Four schools will implement distance learning for three days, from November 20 to 22, due to the prolonged time necessary to repair the damages from the hurricane.
Kindergartens and nurseries on the territory of Varna Municipality will be open on Monday. Instructions were given to keep the children inside due to potentially hazardous branches and other falling objects.
Higher education institutions will operate normally under enhanced safety measures.
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As of 5 p.m., a total of 171 settlements in Northeastern Bulgaria were without electricity, Electrodistribution North told BTA. The company specified that the work on removing the breakdowns and damages was ongoing. Electrodistribution North has dispatched more than 70 teams to expedite fixing the damages.

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