Fire Destroys Homes in Bulgarian Roma Ghetto

Society | March 23, 2011, Wednesday // 16:14|  views

A fire broke out Wednesday in the Roma ghetto in Blagoevgrad. Photo by BGNES

Several homes burned down in the Roma ghetto in the southwestern Bulgarian city of Blagoevgrad, a shantytown with makeshift houses.

The fire started in the early afternoon from an unattended gas stove and quickly caught on the adjacent homes.

The local fire brigade managed to extinguish the fire within one hour preventing it from spreading to the entire quarter, or "mahala", known as "Predel."

The inhabitants of the Roma ghetto in Blagoevgrad themselves destroyed several roofs of the homes built of cardboard, metal plates, and wood in order to prevent the fire from spreading further.

No one was hurt in the accidental fire, which threatened to leave the population of the entire slum homeless, exposing once again the harsh living conditions of the majority of the Bulgarian Roma.

In another Roma-related report from another Bulgarian town, Kazanlak, published Wednesday and entitled "Life on a Dump Site" (a VIDEO report VIEW HERE), a local correspondent of the BGNES agency tells the story of the local Roma population who have found "employment" by going through the trash on the dumping ground, picking out plastic and glass bottles and occasionally, metal objects, and selling them to local recycling merchants.

About 20 000 tons of waste are dumped every year on the Kazanlak site; the town has no garbage separation facilities, which accidentally is used by the local Roma to make a miserable living. The local garbage depot's life expired in 2010, and it was sealed off as access to it is technically forbidden. However, the metal fence has been stolen.

Another recent report from Kazanlak underlining the plight of the Roma showed how unemployed Roma dismantled for scrap an entire local dairy after it went bankrupt.

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Tags: Roma, Roma ghetto, Roma minority, Blagoevgrad, slum, Kazanlak, waste depot


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