Newborn Freed In Rubble As Earthquakes Syria, Turkey Kill Thousands
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
GAZIANTEP (Worthy News) – A newborn baby with her umbilical cord still attached to her dead mother was miraculously pulled alive from rubble in Syria after the deadliest earthquakes in recent history, witnesses said Tuesday.
As the death toll of Monday’s earthquakes in Syria and Turkey approached 8,000, with thousands more still unaccounted for, residents joined rescue workers searching for survivors.
Between dead bodies, extended family members discovered an infant attached to her late mother as they trawled through the remnants of a home in the northern Syrian town of Jindayris, Worthy News monitored.
A man carrying the infant could be seen running to get her rushed to the hospital. “We heard a voice while we were digging,” a relative, Khalil al-Suwadi, told French News Agency AFP earlier.
“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.” Footage seen by Worthy News suggested she was alive and being cared for.
But she will never see her mother and immediate family, who all died in the quakes that shook much of Syria and Turkey on Monday. It was unclear whether the mother had given birth after or before the home collapsed.
She was among the many dead after the first 7.8 magnitude quake struck near Turkey’s Gaziantep early Monday close to the Syrian border. Hours later, a second 7.7 magnitude tremor hit Turkey some 96 kilometers (60 miles) further, experts said.
Both quakes, the most powerful to hit the region in more than a century, impacted especially southeastern Turkey and northern Syria though they were felt as far as Israel.
Apartment blocks collapsed like houses of cards with panicked witnesses shouting, worried about those still inside.
As the region entered a second freezing cold night, relatives of victims who lived in collapsed buildings joined frantic rescue, using pickaxes and crowbars.
Some anguished families said rescue services took too long to respond in some areas of Turkey. There were additional challenges to reaching parts of Syria, which has suffered a deadly civil war for more than a decade.
People, already familiar with the Syrian armed conflict’s death and destruction, lacked the resources to respond to the consequences of the devastating earthquakes and aftershocks. “This catastrophe is much bigger than us; we need the intervention of states,” emergency response force White Helmets co-founder Ismail Al-Abdullah said in published remarks.
Two-thirds of confirmed deaths were reported in Turkey, and world leaders called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to express condolences and pledge support.
British King Charles, for instance, told President Erdoğan that his “thoughts and special prayers” are with all those affected by the earthquakes in Turkey. He said: “My wife and I have been most shocked and profoundly saddened by the news of the devastating earthquakes in South East Turkiye (Turkey),” according to a readout of the conversation.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz promised Erdoğan further comprehensive support in dealing with the earthquake disaster, a spokesman for the German government said after the two leaders spoke on the phone.
While rescue teams and relief from numerous nations were arriving, it became increasingly clear that freezing temperatures and damaged roads hampered efforts to tackle the enormous humanitarian emergency.
Besides coping with the thousands killed and injured, authorities were overwhelmed by as many as 380,000 homeless people now seeking refuge in Turkey alone in the middle of winter.
Turkish authorities declared a state of emergency in 10 provinces, and the World Health Organization warned that fatalities could exceed 20,000.
The region has been susceptible to massive quakes due to the fault lines underneath, according to experts.
Monday’s quakes occurred in a seismically active area known as the East Anatolian fault zone, which caused severe tremors in the past.
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