More than 200 Romani families lived in social housing in bloc number 20 in the Rayna Knyaginya neighborhood in Yambol between 1990 and 2010. The bloc's management was completely abandoned by public authorities which was in charge of its renovation. As consequence bloc 20 became overpopulated: according to official records 1260 residents were registered there out of which 667 were children. Unofficial data estimate the number at around 1500-1800 inhabitants. Apartments were shared by a huge number of people, in some case up to 29, 14 of whom children. Another apartment measuring only 43 square meters was inhabited by 15 people, 6 of whom were children .
Due to the high population and the lack of measures for renovation, the housing conditions seriously deteriorated causing health hazards for the inhabitants. Uncontrolled dumps appeared around the bloc increasing the risk of epidemics and infections such as measles and Lyme disease carried by parasites . For the period 2003-2009, 26% of all viral diseases and parasitic infections in the region were recorded in the building in question. 100% of children contracted different types of measles, 50-70% of all inhabitants contracted viral meningitis, severe hepatitis A or salmonella . All 667 children living in the building were in risk – 13 have been placed in specialized institutions, 2 have been removed and placed with relatives .
The health hazards were additionally increased by the lack of running water and electricity that were cut in 1998 to prevent the risk of short-circuits and flooding; sewage was completely nonfunctional as its pipes were broken or removed. Water was stored in plastic bottles, which might be toxic. Such plastic was used by the families to heat their apartments, polluting the air. Apartments' windows were broken which raised issues in regard to energetic efficiency .
To address this situation the mayor of Yambol issued an order for demolishing the insalubrious building . Prior to the mayor's notice the private German company LIDL announced a project for constructing a supermarket in the area . The inhabitants, mainly families living in extreme poverty, protested against the mayor's decision due to the lack of alternative accommodation . They refused to evacuate the building and started throwing down stones and building materials . Then an accident occurred: a ten-year girl was seriously injured and was in coma. Two persons were arrested .
The Bulgarian political party DROM referred to the Court of Appeal in September 2010 against the eviction . However the mayor's order was executed in middle of October 2010 leaving hundreds of Roma homeless . More than 50 families stayed in shacks made of unstable and inflammable materials without access to running water and were not been protected from rude winter conditions . In 2019 some of the evictees still live in shacks in the same place, in insalubrious conditions, exposed to serous health hazards, epidemics and intoxication. (See less)