Stolipinovo (Bulgarian: Столипиново) is a district of the Bulgarian town of Plovdiv and the most populous predominantly Roma-inhabited district on the Balkans with a population of about 45,000 people. It is a ghetto located on the outskirts of the city, in its northeastern part on the right bank of the Maritsa.
Stolipinovo differs from other Roma communities in Bulgaria as only 5,000 inhabitants identify themselves as Christian and romani-speaking Roma ("Dassikane Roma"), whereas the Muslim and Turkish-speaking majority claims to be of Turkish origin ("Xoraxane Roma").
Since the end of the socialist era in 1989 there have been almost no investments in the infrastructure of Stolipinovo. In combination with the boom of illegal housing this led to severe problems with regards to electricity and water supply, sewerage and waste disposal.
Due to accumulated debts for electricity and water surpassing 3 million euro, in 2002 the (then state-owned) local supplier shut down electricity completely for all inhabitants of Stolipinovo. This kind of "kin liability" has been widely regarded as illegal by human rights organisations and led to a spontaneous riot. After the situation calmed down, the district was supplied electricity for six hours per night. This regime has not yet been abolished, despite an October 31, 2006, ruling by the Plovdiv Regional Court, that the practice of the Austrian EVN monopolist was "discriminatory." Stolipinovo is unique in having electricity distribution boards raised on poles several metres tall.
Sanitation is poor owing to the shortage of safe water, due to burst pipes. Piped water rarely reaches the highest floors of apartment buildings. In most of the illegal buildings there is no water supply at all. The sewers in Stolipinovo are mostly dysfunctional and overflowing, forming puddles in the streets. Illegal buildings are not connected at all. Household waste is typically hurled from windows and balconies of apartments onto heaps on the ground below.
Inevitably, these problems caused a hepatitis type A epidemic in the summer of 2006 which affected at least 637 persons in Stolipinovo, and spread to other parts of the city, Sheker Mahala in particular. As a result, RIOKOZ of the Ministry of Health completed a mass immunisation campaign of children in Plovdiv by the end of October 2006. Other emergency measures undertaken by the municipality included dismantlement of illegal kiosks that had lined the streets and disposal of refuse left uncollected for years.
- ↑ European Forum for Democracy and Solidarity
- ↑ "The Relations of Ethnic and Confessional Consciousness of Gypsies in Bulgaria", Elena Marushiakova, Vesselin Popov
- ↑ osservatorio balcani, June 4, 2002
- ↑ "Power Cuts Spark Roma Riot", sofiaecho.com
- ↑ Режимът на тока в “Столипиново” – източник на дискриминация и корупция, mediapool.bg, 8. November 2006
- ↑ "886 са заболелите от вирусен хепатит А в Пловдив". Plovdiv24.bg. http://news.plovdiv24.com//19318.html. Retrieved August 31, 2009.
- ↑ "Завърши имунизацията против вирусен хепатит „А” в "Столипиново", "Шекер махала" и "Аджисан махала"". BG NewsRoom. http://bgnewsroom.com/singlenews/?ID=6840. Retrieved August 31, 2009.