Bulgaria saw a large increase in the number of Syrians arriving via Turkey this year.
The Bulgarian government was underprepared for the surge of new arrivals and although makeshift camps were set up, the provision of food, shelter, and medical and psychological care was inadequate. People were sleeping in unheated tents, and up to 50 individuals were sharing one toilet.
During the 2013–2014 winter, after seeing the terrible living conditions in reception centres, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) started working in those worst affected: Vrezdevna and Voenna Rampa centres in Sofia, and also in the Harmanli camp close to the Turkish and Greek borders. MSF teams provided medical, antenatal and psychological care, distributed aid and made improvements to buildings and facilities. Over 5,500 outpatient consultations were carried out.
In May, after the authorities had increased their capacity and conditions had improved, MSF handed over the provision of medical and psychological healthcare services to the Bulgarian State Agency for Refugees and other humanitarian organisations.
No. staff in 2014: 16 | Expenditure: €0.5 million | Year MSF first worked in the country: 1981 | msf.org/bulgaria