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12 die in flooding after heavy rain

At least 12 people are known to have died and an unknown number of others are missing after heavy rain and flooding hit parts of north-eastern Bulgaria.

Police officials in the worst-hit Black Sea resort town of Varna confirmed that 10 bodies have been recovered from floodwater. It remains unclear how many other people are still missing after torrential rain flooded large parts of the coastal town.

Two more bodies were pulled from muddy water in the northern city of Dobrich.

A state of emergency has been declared in Varna's low-lying district of Asparuhovo, where many houses are flooded and dozens of cars have floated away and are lying on top of each other.

Rescue teams were taking distressed people to temporary shelters.

Prime minister Plamen Oresharski, who arrived in Varna early today, called the flooding "a huge tragedy".

The government has announced Monday will be a national day of mourning.

Large parts of the Balkan country have been hit by heavy rain and hailstorms, and hundreds of people have been left without electricity and food supplies.

The national meteorological service said the rain that fell in eastern Bulgaria in the past 24 hours equalled the usual amount per month and warned that more was expected.

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