A Syrian newborn with her umbilical cord still attached was rescued alive after being found buried underneath large chunks of rubble in the aftermath of a 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit southeastern Turkey and northwestern Syria on Monday.
Agence France-Presse reports that the disastrous earthquake tore through the northern rebel-held Syrian town of Jindayris, where the newborn was the sole survivor from her immediate family after the quake flattened their family home.
Relative Khalil al-Suwadi told the news agency that the baby’s parents and siblings did not make it out alive. Extended family members discovered the infant alive as they searched the debris and wreckage for their loved ones.
“We heard a voice while we were digging,” Suwadi told AFP.
“We cleared the dust and found the baby with the umbilical cord (intact), so we cut it, and my cousin took her to hospital.”
It is unknown if the mother, Afraa, went into labor while she was stuck in the ruins. News of the infant’s miraculous survival has gone viral online.
A video of the baby being recovered shows a man who can be seen running out of the rubble holding the infant covered in dust in his arms. And another man gave him a blanket for the baby in an attempt to warm the infant in the freezing temperatures.
Suwadi shared that the baby was taken to the nearby town of Afrin to receive medical attention at a clinic. Other relatives took hours to search for the dead bodies of the infant’s immediate family.
The infant’s mother, father, Abdullah, four siblings and an aunt all died.
Pediatrician Hani Maarouf told AFP that the baby arrived at the Afrin clinic in bad condition but is now stable.
“She had several bruises and lacerations all over her body,” Maarouf said. “She also arrived with hypothermia because of the harsh cold. We had to warm her up and administer calcium.”
Maarouf told The Associated Press that the baby weighed roughly 7 pounds and was carried nearly to term.
“Our only concern is the bruise on her back, and we have to see whether there is any problem with her spinal cord,” he said. The doctor noted that the baby has been moving her legs and arms normally.
Sleiman, who arrived at the scene just after the baby was discovered, told AP that the baby was “found in front of her mother’s legs.”
“After the dust and rocks were removed, the girl was found alive,” Sleiman was quoted as saying.
A joint funeral was held outside a relative’s home on Tuesday for the immediate family killed.
The infant is another story of children being found dead or alive in the aftermath of the natural disaster.
The death toll from the earthquake in both Turkey and Syria is up to over 11,000 as of Wednesday morning.
The White Helmets rescue group that provides rescue efforts to rebel-held areas of Syria reported Wednesday evening that the death toll in northwestern Syria has risen to over 1,730 while over 2,850 are injured as hundreds of buildings have been flattened.
“The number is likely to rise significantly due to presence of hundreds of families under the rubble of destroyed buildings,” the organization tweeted. “Our teams continue rescue operations amid difficult circumstances.”
Nicole Alcindor is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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