Shortly after the terrorist bombing at the Burgas airport that killed five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian driver, Bulgaria's youngest-ever parliamentarian – 27-year-old Kalina Krumova – decided to do everything in her power to help the Israelis.
Dressed in jeans and sandals, she arrived at the hospital along with the wounded and remained there all night, alongside Israeli aid teams, helping with translation.
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"Without her, we would have been deaf and dumb," said Prof. Gabi Barbash, head of the Israeli rescue mission.
Krumova talks with Barbash at the hospital (Photo: Carmit Reuven)
The Israeli team, comprising Magen David Adom staff and personnel from the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, landed at the closed Burgas airport at midnight Wednesday, approximately six hours after the blast that targeted Israeli vacationers. When they arrived at the local hospital, Krumova was waiting, and said she was there to help interpret. At first, they thought she was a member of the medical staff.
Krumova (left) sits in on a meeting at the Burgas hospital (Photo: Carmit Reuven)
Barbash told Ynet that only after two hours had passed, during which she "helped us with translation and acted as a liaison between me and the hospital director and his CFO," did he inquire who Krumova was. She replied that in Bulgaria, "deputy" – as she had introduced herself – referred to a member of parliament.
"She stuck close to us from the first moment, didn't sleep all night, and helped us in everything we did," Barbash said.
Barbash, CEO of Sourasky, said that communicating with the Bulgarian medical staff was very difficult. "Almost no one spoke English, and even the doctors that did didn't speak it clearly. We couldn't understand a word. (Krumova) just took it upon herself to translate – lists and forms, the status of each wounded person."
"Without her, we would have been deaf and dumb," Barbash stressed.
Krumova was elected to Bulgaria's National Assembly three years ago. Despite her age, she was already a journalist with years of experience, having worked at Bulgaria's state television since age 12. When she was 17, she gave birth to her son, whom she has raised as a single mother.
"I was at the hospital almost before you were," she told Ynet. "I got there as soon as I understood what had happened. It was important to me that the wounded victims not be alone – I knew it would be hard for them to communicate with the medical staff and the police, so I came."
"I wanted to do all I could. It was important to me to let the Israelis feel that in the middle of all this horror, someone cared about them."
When asked why she would go to such trouble for Israelis she had never met, Krumova replied: "It doesn't matter to me what country you're from, you need to help anyone in such a situation.
"We're all human beings and terrorism is terrorism. It's not an Israeli or a Bulgarian problem – everyone in the world needs to be concerned about it. It's not normal to have to guard people who go on vacation. It's awful that people are killed, but it's worse that Israelis live in constant fear. How can they live like that?" she wondered.