Expats in Brussels share dismay over terror attack

Published:  23 Mar at 3 PM
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The entire international residential community in Brussels is in a state of shock following the deadly ISIS terrorist attack at the airport and Maelbeek Metro station.

Belgium’s capital city is a hub for expats from across the world due to its status as a major international political centre and home to the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament. As such, the threat from international terrorism has always existed, but no-one could have predicted with certainty the devastating explosions at Zaventem Airport and Maelbeek Metro station which killed 31 people and injured over 200, many seriously.

In addition to Belgian nationals, expats living and working in the city lost their lives as the suicide bombers unleashed their deadly explosives, leaving the international community in a state of fear and shock. Adelma Ruiz, a Peruvian national resident in Brussels for the past six years, died in the first explosion, with young Brazilian basketball player for the Belgian national team Sebastian Bellin receiving severe shrapnel wounds to his leg and hip and needing two operations.

Diplomat George Cunningham reported from his office close by Maelbeek Station, remembering 9/11 as a comparison with the Brussels attacks. A former army officer, he quoted a military motto from those early days, saying ‘stand firm’. Vice-chair of the Brussels and Europe Liberal Democrats Giles Goodall told the media the worst is the shock and the knowledge it’s not over yet. People, he added, are offering overnight rooms, lifts home and other help.

Andy Round, a ten-year expat resident in the city, fears that his three children might be victims of further attacks, saying it’s hard to be rational about such devastating violence against innocent people. Laura Shields said she loves the city and her loyalty to its people has become stronger due to their response to the tragic deaths and injuries.

Those worried about UK relatives and friends within the Brussels expat community are asked to call a helpline provided by the Foreign Office on +44 207 008 0000. The London Metropolitan Police are reqauesting anyone with videos or pictures of the attacks to upload them to the LMF website, in the hope that the one bomber who supposedly escaped might be identified and caught.
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