At least two people died on Tuesday as torrential rains hit Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast, causing flooding and forcing hundreds of holidaymakers to be evacuated, officials said.
Incessant heavy rain and thunderstorms since late Monday have caused rivers to overflow, damaging bridges and cutting access to the whole region south of the southeastern coastal city of Burgas.
“At least several people have sadly lost their lives,” Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov told journalists from the flood-hit coastal town of Tsarevo.
“Those who have died are one man and one woman,” he said, adding a few others remained unaccounted for.
Several hundred holidaymakers vacationing along the coast have been evacuated to safer locations.
Social media users posted videos showing campers and cars being dragged into the stormy sea from camping grounds along the coast.
The rains also submerged streets and flooded ground floors in Tsarevo — which declared a state of emergency — and also the coastal town of Ahtopol.
Television footage showed submerged cars and damaged roads.
“The amount of rain that has fallen here is unseen before,” Tsarevo mayor Georgy Lapchev told Nova television.
A number of towns south of Burgas remained without electricity, as emergency services struggled to reach and repair the damaged lines.
Locals from the village of Kosti in the Strandzha mountain also were evacuated after a river there overflowed.
Authorities warned people against any travels to the area ahead of Wednesday’s public holiday, which many Bulgarians usually spend at the seaside.
Flooding — rare in the Black Sea coast area — is becoming increasingly common in Bulgaria due to climate change and the poor maintenance of infrastructure.
Scientists warn that extreme weather is becoming more intense as a result of climate change.
Several people were also killed when heavy rains hit Spain and Greece this week.