This is an excerpt from MSF's 2014 International Activity Report, published annually looking back on our work in the previous year.
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 2013–14 winter, after seeing the terrible living conditions in reception centers, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) started working in those worst affected: Vrezdevna and Voenna Rampa centers 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 health care services to the Bulgarian State Agency for Refugees and other humanitarian organizations.
At the end of 2014, MSF had 16 staff in Bulgaria. MSF first worked in the country in 1981.