Georgian journalist witnesses Brussels blasts
Hotline numbers released for Georgian citizens in Belgium

  • Brussels airport after the blasts. Photo by Ketevan Kardava/Facebook, 22 Mar 2016 - 13:19, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian citizens in Brussels, Belgium where several explosions ripped through the city’s main airport and at a metro station today have been asked to contact Georgia’s consulate if they need help.

  • The hotline numbers are: +32 4777 000 34 and +32 470 2442 62.

At least one Georgian citizen was at Zaventem Airport in Brussels when two explosions took place about 8am local time (11am Georgia time) today. About one hour later an explosion hit Maalbeek metro station, close to European Union (EU) institutions in the city’s centre.

Ketevan Kardava, journalist of Georgia’s Public Broadcaster (GPB) was departing for Geneva when she witnessed the incidents. The blasts took place inside the airport’s departure hall.

She posted several pictures of the scene on her Facebook page and said the airport was being evacuated. The atmosphere of people at the airport was of "panic”.

Photo by Ketevan Kardava/Facebook

Kardava spoke in live air on GPB where she said she saw a bag explode near a check-in desk inside the airport. Soldiers came in several minutes later and took the bag away, she said.

A short time ago the BBC reported at least 13 people had been killed in the explosions at the airport and metro station.

Photo by Ketevan kardava/Facebook

Inside the departure hall Kardava said people had been injured mainly because of shattered glass and roof panels that had fallen from the ceiling.

At the time of the explosions passengers were evacuated from the airport or taken onto the runways and asked to stay there by officials, who said "the danger was still not removed”.

Photo by Keteva Kardava/Brussels

Georgia’s Consul in Belgium Ketevan Didebulidze said it was not yet known whether or not there were any other Georgians at the explosion areas.

Meanwhile when the explosion rocked Maalbeek metro station, the whole rail system was immediately closed.

The cause of the explosions is not yet known, and it was too early to say if it was a terrorist act, officials said.  

The blasts came four days after the Brussels capture of Salah Abdeslam, the last remaining main suspect involved in the Paris jihadist attacks on November 13, 2015.