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Bulgaria: Emel Etem - Bulgarian institutions are ready to work in emergency situations

Govt. Bulgaria
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The Ministers delivered statements prior to the vote of no confidence to defend the policy pursued by the cabinet
The Bulgarian institutions are ready to work in an emergency situation and the results can be seen - the situation is under control in the river valley of the Danube. This was announced from the floor at the National Assembly by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Disaster Management Policy Emel Etem in the discussion about the vote of no confidence asked by 50 opposition MPs, based on "the cabinet's failure to cope with the consequences of the floods".

Deputy Prime Minister Emel Etem defined the vote of no confidence as untimely and unproductive and hence it is politically pointless, but according to her the discussion about natural disasters is useful to the public.

The disaster management policy is above all policy of national security and requires that everybody should be prepared - including family and institutions. Emel Etem said that if there had been timely investment in critical infrastructure, consequences would not have been so devastating. Statistics show that funds have not been allotted for the maintenance and construction of infrastructure for the last 20 years, she said.

The government has taken a number of measures since the beginning of its term of office. The Prime Minister set up a crisis management centre. The cabinet adopted two Concepts for protection of the population and the national economy and for the establishment of an emergency call system with European number 112, said the Deputy Prime Minister. All Ministries and Agencies have to identify the problems relevant to critical infrastructure and have to put forward measures to address them and to pledge to fund the renovation of outdated infrastructure.

Other cabinet ministers also voiced their opinion at the National Assembly prior to the vote of no confidence asked by opposition parties.

Minister of Environment and Water Dzhevdet Chakarov said that he had resumed the supervision over the level of lakes and rivers in the country. Nature challenges us but we are doing our best with the available funds to prevent and diminish the damages caused by the floods, said the Bulgarian Minister of Environment and Water.

Minister of Transport Petar Mutafchiev said that from 1989 to 2001 no funds were invested in the railway infrastructure to prevent the damages inflicted by natural disasters.

Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Nihat Kabil, for his part, said that the cabinet is trying to handle the problems related to floods as soon as possible and to prevent the damages that can be caused by the swollen Danube river. Minister Kabil also pointed out that the country is facing the most serious natural disasters for the last decade.

Minister of Defence Vesselin Bliznakov assured the MPs that the population can rely on the Bulgarian armed forces and they are currently helping people to cope with the consequences of the floods.

Finally, Minister of Labour and Social Policy Emilia Maslarova acquainted the MPs with the actions taken by the Ministry. Social services have given assistance to 8256 households in 93 municipalities so that they could overcome the damages inflicted by the floods.