Man at His Best

What It's Like To Be In Brussels Today

The attacks and their aftermath "prevent you from living the life you want to live."

BY TESS KOMAN | Mar 23, 2016 | Culture

Following this morning's terrorist attacks on the city, spoke with a Brussels resident — a public servant who, because of the nature of his job, asked not to be identified.

I don't know that I will be able to tell you anything you have not read in the newspapers, but I work in the neighbourhood of the [Maalbeek] subway station. I normally take the subway to work and walk about a mile to [my office], but I had a day of rest today so I stayed home.

Everything is stalled here. There is no transportation. No trains, no subways, no trams, no buses. People are encouraged to stay home. I have heard nothing from anyone at work but I received a message on my mobile saying that people who were in the building should stay in the building. People who were on their way in [to work] should turn around.

There has been no increased security [since alleged Paris terrorist Salah Abdeslam's arrest in the city last Friday], but since the Paris attacks in November, security has been very stepped up. If you go to the European Council, before you even enter, you have to show your ID and your magnetic badge. Once you're inside the revolving door, you're patrolled a second time. Before you go to the elevators, you have been checked three or four times.

I am terribly aggravated. Attacks like these prevent you from living the life you want to live. There are soldiers in front of all public buildings, children's classes have been cancelled. It's a pain, it hampers your life. Thank god [my family is] alive and well. Life must go on normally.

Below are other first-hand reports of the Belgium attacks:

Gavin Sheridan spoke to Mashable about being on his way to the Brussels airport when he learned of the first two explosions and turned around. He inadvertently headed to Schuman station, not far from where the metro bomb exploded. As he was walking, Belgian police began running is his direction, yelling at people to move farther away from where they were stationed.

"A clearly distressed commuter, with his partner holding his hand, shouted angrily at the assembled journalists: 'You have no idea what happened down there. Bodies, everywhere,'' Sheridan wrote. Soldiers who were present had switched from soft hats to helmets, he noted, and everyone was running. Within half an hour, everything was silent on the streets except for sirens.

Anthony Deloos, an employee of Swissport within the Belgian airport, told CBS News the first explosion happened very near where he works. "We heard a big explosion. It's like when you're in a party and suddenly your hearing goes out, from like a big noise," he said. "I jumped into a luggage chute to be safe."

Zach Mouzoun had just arrived on a flight from Geneva. He told CBS he was near the second bomb explosion: "It was atrocious. The ceilings collapsed. There was blood everywhere, injured people, bags everywhere," he said. "We were walking in the debris. It was a war scene.”

From: Cosmopolitan.