Heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures that hit Bulgaria this week claimed a ninth victim Sunday, Info radio reported as the country struggled to get back to normal.

A severely frostbitten man found near the northeastern town of Kavarna died in hospital, the station reported.

The body of another victim of the cold, a 64-year-old gardener, was found Saturday in the southern region of Pazardzhik, Trud daily newspaper reported.

Meanwhile, the state of emergency called earlier this week in the northeastern region of Ruse was lifted Sunday, the mayor's office announced.

But as transport in the region slowly got back to normal, a five-kilometre (three-mile) queue of heavy trucks formed on the Bulgarian side of the reopened Ruse bridge leading to Romania over the Danube.

In the nearby northwestern region of Dobrich, the state of emergency was still in force as rescue services and the army battled to open roads, restore electricity and deliver food supplies to villages cut off by the cold snap.

Only four villages were still waiting to be reconnected to the electricity supply Sunday and three villages were still without water, according to the daily update by the rescue services.

Although temperatures remained well below freezing conditions were starting to rise Sunday after the minus 31.6 degrees Celsius (minus 24.8 Fahrenheit) recorded Saturday in the central town of Sevlievo.

But the partial freezing of surface waters on the Danube prompted port authorities to keep the country's major port on the river in Ruse closed.