A baby was rescued from the rubble of a house in the earthquake region in north-west Syria. The baby was still connected by the umbilical cord to its mother, who died in the disaster. The newborn girl is the sole survivor of her family. His father, his three sisters, his brother and his aunt could only be recovered dead from the rubble.
The family’s four-storey house in the village of Janairis in the Afrin region collapsed due to the strong earthquake on Monday. Relatives then searched for the buried family. “Then we heard a noise and we dug,” says one of them, Chalil Sawadi, on Tuesday. “We cleared debris and found this little one, praise God.”
The newborn was still connected by the umbilical cord to its mother, who will never know it now. “We cut the umbilical cord and my cousin took the baby to the hospital,” says Sawadi, describing the wonderful rescue.
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“She was brought in with her limbs stiff with cold”
A video circulated online of a man holding up a naked, dust-covered baby with the remains of his umbilical cord still hanging from his belly amidst the rubble. In the face of freezing temperatures, someone brings a blanket to wrap the newborn in. The baby was taken to a hospital in the nearby town of Afrin.
There the little one was placed in an incubator and given infusions of vitamins. “She was brought in with her limbs stiff from the cold and her blood pressure had dropped,” says her doctor, Hani Maaruf. “We provided first aid and gave her IVs because she hadn’t had milk for a long time.”
Bruises but stable condition
The baby suffered bruises, but the condition of the 3,175 gram newborn is stable, the doctor says. According to his estimation, the baby was born about seven hours after the earthquake.
It took hours to rescue the other family members. Their bodies were lined up in front of a neighboring house and covered with cloths of different colors. Sawadi lists the names of the deceased and reports on the already difficult fate of the family, who had to flee their home region.
Because of the civil war, they had left the unstable Deir Essor region further east, hoping to be safe in Janairis, a place controlled by the Turkish army and pro-Turkish rebels. But for many people, Janairis became a death trap. About 50 buildings collapsed there.