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(DF) Bulgaria Offers Help as Croatia Deals with Quake Aftermath

December 30 (BTA) – Bulgaria has offered financial and other help as Croatia is dealing with the aftermath of an earthquake that took lives and caused destruction. Prime Minister Boyko Borissov had a phone call with Croatian counterpart Andrej Plenkovic to express his condolences after the earthquake. “Bulgaria feels for the tragedy of the Croatian people. We wish you fast recovery from the injuries and the damage,” Borissov said in his phone call with Plenkovic. He expressed the readiness of the Bulgarian government to provide assistance and support in overcoming the aftermath of the quake. “We are ready to help friendly Croatia. It is in such times when solidarity and unity are most needed,” the Bulgarian government leader is quoted as saying. At its weekly meeting, the government decided to extend 100,000 euro in financial support for Croatia, Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva told a news briefing. Also, Bulgaria will help rebuild two emblematic buildings in Zagreb damaged by the quake: the Gornjogradska high school and the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts. The restoration of the two buildings will cost an estimated 5 million euro and Bulgaria will provide 50,000 euro. Two Bulgarian producers of bottled mineral water have offered to deliver water to areas where water supply has been disrupted by the quake. They will send a TIR truck of water bottles each: one will leave on December 31 and the other on January 4. The director of the Fire Safety and Population Protection Directorate General, Chief Commissioner Nikolai Nikolov, told reporters in the northern town of Byala that Bulgaria is ready to send experts in the quake-hit regions of Croatia. He said that he spoke to his Croatian counterpart Wednesday morning to discuss what help is needed. Bulgaria has offered to send blankets, folding beds and electric heaters. Seventy-two members of a specialized quake rescue team and construction engineers are ready to leave for Croatia any time now, if their help is needed. A couple of days from now it will be clear if Croatia needs such assistance, Chief Commissioner Nikolov said. He added that the country does not need it right now. President Rumen Radev had a phone talk with his Croatian counterpart Zoran Milanovic, Radev’s press secretariat informed later. The Bulgarian Head of State expressed this country’s sympathy with the Croatian people and institutions. Radev confirmed Bulgaria’s readiness to send search and rescue teams to Croatia if needed, and provide equipment to help overcome the aftermath of the quake. The Bulgarian President invited his counterpart to an official visit here at a convenient time. RY/MT /МТ/