SA student in Belgium praises nation's reaction to Brussels attacks

2016-03-30 09:18
South African, Sheena Rajkumar who has lived in Belgium for 8 years says the country is in disarray. (Picture: Supplied)

South African, Sheena Rajkumar who has lived in Belgium for 8 years says the country is in disarray. (Picture: Supplied)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Durban – A South African student living in Belgium has heaped praise on the country's ability to stay united after terrorist attacks recently left 31 people dead in the capital, Brussels.

Sheena Ramkumar, a South African student living 15 minutes away from the airport and metro station both rocked by explosions just over a week ago, said the country was dealing with the aftermath as best it could.

The self-styled Islamic State has since claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Speaking to News24, Ramkumar said the relatively "mild and peaceful nature of Belgians" was evident in the way people dealt with the tragedy.

"Candle and flower offerings at crowded vigils are a common sight. I attended one outside the train station in Leuven.

"Of course there is a natural shock-response to such tragedy, and a sense of collective loss and pain, but people have different ways of coping with such emotions."

Ramkumar said public transportation, while initially slow, eventually began working efficiently again.

"When some trains did eventually arrive, the journey was at times lengthened due to some unscheduled stops being made along the way to accommodate... those areas that were otherwise unreachable, owing to the metro and bus lines being on lock-down."

Increase in security

She said there was a significant increase in security with nuclear sites especially well-guarded since the attacks.

"There has been a step-up of security at nuclear sites and I am guessing possibly also at airports. I think the security forces are doing everything they can, given the situation, although I understand they are being lambasted for not taking more action to prevent [the] attacks."

Ramkumar added that Belgians did not typically react to tragedies in a knee-jerk manner. 

"They are practical, helpful and thoughtful people, and I haven't experienced or witnessed a change in those characteristics. Nevertheless, I think it would be only natural to possess a certain amount of fear after such horrific events, however, even that is not debilitating.

"People here remain calm, open-minded, and go about their lives, living as they wish, free from intimidation."

- Read more: 'People are scurrying around' - SA student on Belgium blasts

Read more on:    isis  |  belgium  |  security  |  brussels attacks

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Mkhwebane makes her mark

2 minutes ago

Inside News24

Financial advisors – Do you need one and should you get one?

The good, the bad, and everything else you need to know when considering hiring a financial advisor.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.