Loading video player ...

2016 Brussels attacks: Hundreds of objects and items of luggage still not returned to their owners

On Tuesday 22 March it will be exactly 6 years since Belgium was shaken by two deadly terrorist attacks. Since attacks around 200 suitcases, hundreds of mobile phones, toys and other personal belongings of the victims and their relatives have remained at Zaventem Airport. These are items that as yet no one has ever come to collect. Karima Douch of Airport Police has made it her mission to return all the unclaimed belongings to their rightful owners.

In the room where the hundreds of personal effects are piled up, Karima Douch says that she smells the odor of burnt clothing and wrecked lives every times she enters.  Ms Douch told VRT News "We are already 6 years on. But working here remains a difficult task. Nevertheless, there is always the hope that one or another item will be reunited with its owner".

Thanks to Karima Douch, hundreds of people have already collected their suitcases. However, the room at the airport where the unclaimed property is kept is still full.

"Each piece of luggage and each object here is obviously extremely valuable to its owner. But when you see children's belongings, such as clothes or toys, it immediately brings a lump to your throat", Karima Douch said.

Karima Douch has opened each of the suitcases, one by one, in order to try and trace their owners.  Some people simply cannot be found, some live too far away, or just do not react when she tries to contact them. Some simply do not dare to come to Zaventem Airport to collect their belongings as the trauma of what happened on the morning of 22 March 2016 is still too vivid in their minds.

Nevertheless, Karima Douch remains hopeful that one day she will be able to return all of the items to their owners.


Top stories