Brussels attack victims came from Belgium and around world
Victims of the attacks on Brussels’ airport and subway included commuters heading to work and travelers setting off on long-anticipated vacations. In a city that’s home to international institutions including the European Union and NATO, they came from Belgium and around the world. Among the confirmed dead:
Born in Peru, Adelma Tapia Ruiz dreamed of opening a restaurant. She had lived in Belgium for nine years but still cooked the recipes of her homeland, preparing the spicy chicken dish aji de gallina for a food festival organized by the Peruvian consulate in Brussels last year.
Tapia, 37, was killed when a bomb tore through the departures area of Brussels airport on Tuesday, her family confirmed. A split-second decision saved her husband and 4-year-old twin daughters Maureen and Alondra from sharing her fate.
Her Belgian husband, Christophe Delcambe, had taken the girls out of the check-in line to play for a moment when a loud explosion ripped through the concourse. One daughter was struck in the arm by shrapnel and is being treated in a local hospital.
The daughters were the love of Tapia’s life, her brother Fernando Tapia told The Associated Press. After getting married, the couple had difficulty getting pregnant so they traveled several times to the Amazonian jungle in Peru, where Tapia is from, to seek out medicinal plants to help start a family.
“They never lost hope,” Fernando Tapia said.
He said his sister was preparing to catch a flight to New York to meet up with two sisters who live in the United States.
Tapia was politically active, and earlier this month participated in Brussels in a march to commemorate International Women’s Day, one of whose aims was to draw attention to the plight of thousands of women refugees arriving in Europe from Syria and other war-torn nations.
Tapia and her husband lived in the town of Tubize, south of Brussels, and her brother said she will likely be buried in her adopted homeland.
Leopold Hecht was gravely wounded in the bombing at Maelbeek subway station and died later of his injuries.
The rector of Saint-Louis University in Brussels, Pierre Jadoul, said Hecht, 20, was “one of the unfortunate victims of these barbaric acts.”
“There are no words to describe our dismay at this news,” he said in a letter to students.
Classmates lit handles and left flowers outside the university in memory of Hecht, whose Facebook profile includes pictures of a smiling young man on the ski slopes and in the great outdoors.
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