On Monday, a massive magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit Syria and Turkey, resulting in more than 12,000 civilian deaths – and counting. The earthquake flattened hundreds of buildings and damaged thousands of others, leaving many families stuck under the debris as rescuers tried to save as many as possible.
For one family in Syria, relatives were left rummaging through the rubble of what used to be their family member’s home when they heard an infant screaming. It didn’t take long for the relatives to find a newborn baby covered in dust – her umbilical cord still attached to her mother, who was no longer alive.
The relatives immediately cut the umbilical cord off the baby and sprinted towards a vehicle to take the crying baby to a hospital. In the midst of the chaos, another civilian recovered a blanket to cover the baby, protecting it from the freezing temperatures. The rescue was captured on video and quickly went viral.
It is believed that the newborn baby girl was born before the mother died as a result of the earthquake flattening their family home – located in Jindires, a town in northern Syria. The newborn was the only surviving member of her immediate family. Her father, mother, four siblings, and aunt all tragically passed away.
The baby was treated in a hospital in Afrin, where she was connected to an IV drip with scars and lacerations across her body. Photos also showed the baby with a bandage on her left fist and discoloration (blue) of the skin due to the freezing temperatures, which resulted in hypothermia.
In the hours after the video went viral, a relative – Ramadan Sleiman – identified the mother as Afraa Abu Hadiya and the father as Abdullah al-Mleilan. While the newborn arrived at the hospital in terrible condition, the pediatrician treating her – Hani Maarouf – confirmed she was currently in stable condition.
The newborn spent nearly 10 hours in the freezing cold before being rescued by relatives. At the time, her bodily temperature was roughly 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The rest of her family was crushed when the apartment building collapsed – they were allegedly attempting to rush out of the home but were too late.
Dramatic Rescues Continue in the Aftermath of the Earthquake
The story above is just one of the many rescue attempts occurring throughout Southern Turkey and Northern Syria. In fact, another toddler was rescued in the same town when she was pulled out of crushed cement and twisted metal. The little girl was scared and confused as they dug her out.
It’s something this area is more than accustomed to after 12 years of catastrophe as a result of Russian warplanes and Syrian government forces. The only difference with this catastrophe is that it’s a natural one – one that couldn’t be prevented. Rescuers have the experience, but this is completely new to them.
The White Helmets, also known as the Syria Civil Defence, are volunteers who assist in the help, rescue, and recovery of anyone in need in the country. They’re asking nations around the world to help in any way possible, citing a need for materials, manpower, and any other assistance that can help save human lives.
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