Earthquake in Turkey, Syria: Baby born beneath rubble
A baby girl rescued after being born under the rubble of her home has provided a small symbol of hope after the earthquake that devastated Turkey and Syria.
The dust-covered newborn was pulled from the wreckage of a four-storey apartment building more than 10 hours after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck in rebel-held northern Syria.
“Had the girl been left for an hour more, she would have died,” said Dr Hanu Maarouf, who is caring for the baby.
Her relations in the small Syrian town of Jindayris found her still attached to her mother by the umbilical cord.
“We heard a voice while we were digging,” Khalil al-Suwadi said yesterday. “We cleared the dust and found the baby with the umbilical cord. So we cut it and my cousin took her to hospital.”
The crying infant was the sole survivor among her immediate family of Monday’s pre-dawn earthquake, which flattened the her family home and killed her mother, Afraa Abu Hadiya, father, Abdullah, four siblings and an aunt.
Unicef said that “thousands of children” may have been killed after the most powerful earthquake in Syria and Turkey for almost a century. Three British citizens were reported missing after at least 6,200 people were killed in Turkey and Syria, where thousands are still waiting for rescue workers to arrive.
The rescued baby, who suffered cuts and bruises, was taken to a children’s hospital in the nearby town of Afrin and placed in an incubator.
It is understood she is getting better by the hour and her relatives are at her side. Her condition was last night said to be stable. The girl’s forehead and fingers were still blue from the cold and she remains on a drip.
Video footage of her escape was widely shared on social media on Monday. It showed a man sprinting from the rubble clutching the baby. A second man brings a blanket to protect the child from the sub-zero temperatures, while a third yells for a car to take her to hospital.
Rescue efforts have been further hampered by aftershocks. One on Monday was almost as powerful as the first earthquake, while tremors with a magnitude of 7.6 and 5.5 were reported on Tuesday.
More than 8,000 people have been pulled from the debris in Turkey alone, and about 380,000 have taken refuge in government shelters.