Facts and Figures
- Situation Overview in Bulgaria
According to the Bulgarian authorities, 910,594 refugees from Ukraine have entered Bulgaria since the 24th of February, of whom 54,151 persons have remained in the country. The majority of refugees from Ukraine are women and children, increasing family separation and vulnerability to violence, exploitation and abuse.
Though Bulgaria is currently perceived as a transit country by over 50% of Ukrainians, statistical comparative data of Ukrainians fleeing the war and transiting through neighbouring countries shows that Bulgaria has one of the highest ratios of Ukrainians who stay for longer period and/or permanently in the country.
On March 3, 2022, the EU member states agreed to activate the Temporary Protection Directive. The Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria voted in favour of the measure on March 9, 2022. The Directive allows people who have registered as seeking temporary protection in Bulgaria to receive access to social and health services, education, and be able to join the labour market in the country.
According to the official information on July 28, 146,493 persons have registered under the Temporary Protection Directive from all reported Ukrainian nationals who have entered the country visa free for up to 90 days stay. More than 25,000 people have further received shelter under the terms of the Bulgarian program approved by the government for hotel facilities which provide accommodation to people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine. Access to education, immunization of children, social assistance to vulnerable groups and other support measures are under discussion between the government, relevant institutions and civil society organizations and many normative acts remain to be further modified and aligned to the new directive.
Since the start of the conflict, almost 10 million people have already crossed into adjacent countries. As of 18 July 2022, 870,421 refugees from Ukraine are estimated to be third country nationals (TCNs). On the ground there is a lack of resources for ensuring transportation, accommodation and assistance for refugees and TCNs.
The work of IOM Bulgaria’s protection teams and Rapid Response Unit (RRU) is key in providing first-line, swift and targeted support to conflict-affected population. Our activities are expected to strengthen reception system, particularly in provision of direct assistance and access to information and specialised services.
IOM Bulgaria's Activities
- IOM Bulgaria's mobile protection teams (consisting of legal counsellors, social workers and psychologists) and rapid response unit (RRU) provide support and direct assistance to refugees and migrants in vulnerable situations, together with interpreters, with a focus on vulnerable persons, such as children, (accompanied and unaccompanied), single women, female-headed households, persons at risk or victims of trafficking, persons with disabilities, persons with serious illnesses, persons of diverse sex, sexual orientation and gender identity, and survivors of GBV.
- IOM's pool of interpreters from Ukrainian and Russian languages are available also to national partners at requests on-the-spot and by phone, to facilitate communication and cultural mediation to TCNs.
- IOM Bulgaria carries out gender, age and diversity-sensitive needs assessments, and provide support in the following:
- access to healthcare services (e.g., payment for interventions and medication and accompaniment)
- shelter (e.g., financial support for in transit accommodation)
- cash-based interventions (CBI) *based on a set of vulnerability criteria
- Mental Health and Psychosocial Support
- Early adaption support provided by the mobile protection teams and Migrant Information center in Sofia, with a focus on vulnerable persons and those declaring their intention to remain in Bulgaria, including:
- social counselling and support in accessing social services;
- administrative support in accessing education services - kindergarten, childcare services and schools;
- information sessions, individual and group counselling;
- support in accessing employment - job search and facilitation of access to the labour market in Bulgaria;
- Bulgarian language courses – as per declared interest and needs.
Cash-based Interventions and accommodation support – vulnerability criteria
Persons eligible for CBI or emergency accommodation assistance must meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Household (HH) with three (3) or more children
- Household (HH) with one (1) or more children with disabilities*
- HH with one (1) or more persons with disabilities* or with serious and/or chronic illness* or elderly person (above 65)
- Single person with one (1) or more of the following: disability*, serious and/or chronic illness* or who is elderly (above 65) or who has been widowed by the war
- Unaccompanied minor (with no accommodation and/or support)
- Pregnant single woman
- Victim of human trafficking
- Person who has been subjected to torture
- Survivor of gender-based violence (e.g., sexual violence, physical violence, etc.)
IOM Bulgaria response units in Burgas and Varna
As more than 20 000 citizens of Ukraine are currently accommodated in hotels on the Black Sea coast in the regions of Burgas and Varna, IOM Bulgaria has operational response units in the two regions.
Contact details for the IOM teams in Burgas and Varna
- Burgas +359 886 177 295 / +359 888 565 722
- Varna +359 886 177 329 / +359 886 947 177