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Thursday, December 9, 2021

Barcelona victims: citizens from at least 24 countries among dead and injured

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Urgent appeals made for English, Italian and French translators to make their way to hospitals to assist staff

Citizens from at least two dozen countries have been injured or killed in the van attack in the Las Ramblas area of Barcelona and the coastal town of Cambrils, according to Catalan authorities.

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By Friday morning the death toll stood at 13 bystanders killed and more than 100 injured.

So far, the youngest victim of the attacks is thought to be a three-year-old child, Spanish media have reported, who died shortly after she was taken to the hospital. A 6-year-old girl of unknown nationality has also been hospitalised with a cerebral haemorrhage, an official at Vall Hebron university hospital told The New York Times.

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So far, the British foreign office has had no confirmed reports of British citizens injured or killed, but Chris Pawley (30), a survivor of the Manchester bombings was visiting Spain with his partner and was in the area when the attack occurred.
He told the Manchester Evening News he “can’t believe” he been caught up in a second terrorism incident in less than six months. He had just left the Ariana Grande in May when the bomb exploded.

“There was police everywhere and ambulances, the shops started putting the shutters down” Pawley told the newspaper about Thursday’s attack.

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“We have just come back to the hotel, as we were caught up in the arena attack – can’t believe it.”

Belgium’s foreign affairs minister Didier Reynders confirmed on Twitter that one of its citizens was killed in the attack, and also said the Belgium embassy was in touch with hospitals in the area regarding other possible victims.

The Hague said three Dutch were injured, and a Greek diplomat reported three nationals had been wounded – a woman and her two children. China also confirmed a citizen of Hong Kong had minor injuries, while the US state department said it knew of one American with minor injuries.

In Australia, foreign minister Julie Bishop said four Australians were hurt, with two women in a serious but stable condition in hospital, while two Australian men who were “directly affected” had retreated to their hotel room and would seek medical attention in the morning. One Australian is still missing the minister said.

Throughout the long, chaotic night there were urgent appeals on social media for English, Italian and French translators to make their way to hospitals and health clinics to assist staff attending the dozens of non-Spanish speaking victims.

Overnight, many countries set up emergency helplines for their citizens caught up in the violence and sent out warnings for those trapped in the affected area to remain inside and hunker down while counter-terrorism efforts were underway.

Spanish police meanwhile swept through the narrow alleys branching off Las Ramblas, past deserted outdoor cafes, where half-eaten plates of tapas lay abandoned by diners who fled desperately for their lives, as terrified screams errupted from a place that is usually home to laughter and joy.

As Spain wakes today to begin mourning foreign embassies are still scrambling to find their people, many of whom are not believed to have registered their travel plans and movements.

Spanish authorities are yet to publish the names of the dead and injured.

Many parts of central Barcelona remained in lock-down overnight, with guests told to stay in their homes or hotels, and the metro and most transport routes shut-down. Families and friends have been split up, with police evacuating people to different parts of the city, and cellphone networks overwhelmed and jammed.

Catalan authorities urged those affected to stay off the phone networks and use social media to inform their loved ones they were ok. Facebook activated its safety check device for the incident, as it has done for terror attacks recently in Manchester and London.

In Paris, the Eiffle tower turned off its lights as a sign of respect to the innocent victims caught up in the violence, and in New York the world trade centre spire was lit with the colours of the Spanish flag to honour the victims.

Graphic videos of the attack that show maimed and bloodied bodies were widely posted – and condemned – on social media channels, with some on the twitter community chastising people who posted the footage for filming rather than helping the injured victims.

Online Source: The Guardian

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