'Open door:' Brussels residents organize online effort to help terror attack victims

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Two people contribute to messages of solidarity written in chalk outside the stock exchange in Brussels on Tuesday, March 22, 2016.
Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP Photo

In the midst of tragedy of Tuesday's terror attacks in Brussels, a different story emerged: Belgian residents opening their doors to help the victims.

People quickly began using the hashtag "#PorteOuverte" ("Open Door" or "Open House" in English) to signal to victims and those stranded by the attacks that they were welcome to seek shelter in their homes. Some tweeted the hashtag in multiple languages in hopes of getting the word out to foreign visitors.

Two Twitter users even put together a database to help coordinate the efforts.

The offers extended beyond Brussels to everyone affected by the tragedy.

This is not the first time people have used the Internet to offer shelter in the wake of an act of terror. The same hashtag surfaced last November following the Paris terror attacks. Following the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013, a public Google doc was used to connect those needing housing with those offering.