A newborn girl has been rescued from under a collapsed building in Syria following the deadly earthquake that devastated both Syria and Turkey on Monday. The newborn’s umbilical cord was still connected to her mother, Afraa Abu Hadiya, who was found dead when the baby was discovered trapped beneath the wreckage.
According to a family relative who talked to Agence France-Presse, the family’s house in Aleppo was utterly destroyed, and the baby’s mother, father, four siblings, and an aunt were all killed by Monday’s quake.
“We heard a voice while we were digging,” the relative, Khalil al-Suwadi, told the news agency. “We cleared the dust and found the baby with the umbilical cord (intact) so we cut it and my cousin took her to the hospital.”
The newborn was found under the remains of the family home, a five-story apartment complex more than 10 hours after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit. She was taken by ambulance to a local children’s hospital where she is currently being cared for in an incubator According to her doctor, Dr. Hani Maarouf.
He said the baby arrived at his hospital in bad condition, with “several bruises and lacerations over all her body”.
“She also arrived with hypothermia because of the harsh cold. We had to warm her up and administer calcium,” he added.
Given how much her temperature had dropped, Maarouf stated that he believed the infant had been born about three hours prior to being found.
The baby’s incredible rescue was just one of several performed throughout Turkey and Syria by overworked emergency services who battled through subzero temperatures, relentless rain, and power outages.
The death toll following Monday’s devastating earthquake and numerous aftershocks in both Turkey and Syria hit 6,000 on Tuesday and continues to mount with more bodies discovered.
Activist group The White Helmets, a volunteer medical and search-and-rescue organization that operates in Syria and parts of Turkey warns that the figure is expected to “rise dramatically”.
“Time is running out. Hundreds still trapped under the rubble. Every second could mean saving a life,” they tweeted on Tuesday.
“We appeal to all humanitarian organizations and international bodies to provide material support and assistance to organizations responding to this disaster.”
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, said that about 13 million of the 85 million citizens of the nation had been impacted in some way. He declared a state of emergency in 10 provinces to facilitate rescue efforts.
For the entire quake-hit area, that number could be as high as 23 million people, according to Adelheid Marschang, a senior emergencies officer with the World Health Organization.