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A portrait of Yanis Coviaux, who was killed when a man drove a 19-ton truck through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day at the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France, July 16, 2016. (Dmitry Kostyukov/The New York Times)

Truck terror

Nice attack’s child victims: “Every single person that Yanis met in his short life fell in love with him”

July 18, 2016

As Women in the World reported last Friday, the trauma of the attack following the Bastille Day fireworks display in Nice, France, was deepened by the large number of children killed and wounded in the rampage. Now, some of those individual stories have been told by New York Times reporters Alissa J. Rubin and Lilia Blaise.

Yanis Coviaux, 4, was struck while playing with other children, his back to the road. “They did not hear the truck until just one second before it hit,” his aunt Anais Coviaux said. “It went up on the sidewalk; it struck Yanis and the mother of one of the children with them.”

Yanis’ father Mickael began carrying him through the streets in search of help, eventually happening upon some firefighters. They were unable to revive Yanis, who had already died.

“Yanis loved people,” said Anais. “He especially liked Sundays when all the family was gathered, and he would say, ‘Mamie and Papi, we are going to have a party.”

Mickael wrote in an email to the Times that “every single person that Yanis met in his short life fell in love with him.”

At least 10 children died on Thursday night, and at least 35 were treated in hospital for injuries.

Also among the fatalities was 14-year-old Laura Borla, who became separated from her mother and twin sister in the chaos, and whose family did not learn of her death until Sunday.

Sylvie Serret, a child psychologist at the Lenval Foundation hospital, said identifying and examining children had been difficult because of the level of trauma and because some were brought in without relatives. “A lot of the children coming in were in a state of shock; they were not speaking, for instance,” she said.

Many surviving children have been left deeply traumatized. “My daughter is telling me that she does not want to see fireworks again,” said Nathalie Russo. “She kept asking me, ‘How did the bad people get from Paris to Nice?”

“She thought the man who did this was one of those who attacked the Bataclan [concert hall in November, 2015.]”

Some parents brought their children to the Promenade des Anglais over the weekend to place flowers on the memorials. “I told them not to be afraid because that’s what the terrorists want; we have to support each other,” said mother-of three Nour Hamila.

Read the full story at The New York Times.


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