Among the ruins of a building in Jindires, a city in northwest Syria hard hit by the earthquake on Monday (6), rescue teams found a newborn under the rubble still connected by the umbilical cord to her dead mother.
The baby is the only survivor of a family who were in a collapsed four-story building after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake killed 3,549 in Turkey and 1,602 in Syria on Monday. Emergency crews found the bodies of her father Abdallah Mleihan, her mother Aafra, her three sisters, her brother and her aunt.
“First we found his sister, then his wife and then his father. They were together,” Khalil Sawadi, a relative of the family, told AFP news agency. “We heard a noise, we dug and found this little girl, thank God.”
The newborn still had the umbilical cord attached to her mother. “We cut the cord and my cousin took the baby to the hospital,” she continues. In a video circulating on social media, a man is seen carrying a naked, dust-covered baby through the rubble, with the umbilical cord still dangling. Another resident throws a blanket to protect the newborn.
The baby was taken to a hospital in the nearby town of Afrin, where she was placed in an incubator and given vitamins. “She arrived with her limbs numb because of the cold, her blood pressure was low. We gave her first aid and put her under perfusion because she had not been fed for a long time,” doctor Hani Maaruf told AFP.
The girl, who weighs 3.175 kg, has bruises, but her health status is stable, according to the doctor. “She was probably born seven hours after the earthquake,” she says. With few resources, rescuers took hours to remove the rubble to remove the bodies of other family members. The cold and the damage to the infrastructure hinder the search for survivors on this farm.
The bodies were covered in sheets and placed side by side in a relative’s home. The family awaits the burial. “We come from Deir Ezzor. Abdullah is my cousin, I’m married to his sister,” says Khalil Sawadi.
The family fled the unstable region further east, believing they would be safe in Jindires, a town controlled since 2018 by pro-Turkish rebel groups. About 50 houses collapsed in this Syrian city, close to the epicenter of the earthquake in Turkey, according to an AFP correspondent.
In Turkey, Hülya Yılmaz, 30, and her six-month-old baby were rescued 29 hours after the earthquake. According to local media, rescuers heard sounds coming from rubble in the streets of Hatay city and went to look for survivors in the wreckage. The baby was removed and wrapped in blankets, followed by the mother, who walked away with the help of the team and with a neck support
Monday’s quake was the second strongest in a century and the deadliest in 24 years. The Turkish government estimates that 5,775 buildings have collapsed.
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