In the ruins of a building in Jandairis, a town in Syria hard hit by the earthquake on Monday, February 6, rescuers discovered a living baby, born under the rubble and still connected by the umbilical cord to his deceased mother.
The little girl is the only survivor of a family whose other members died in the collapse of their four-storey building.
“God be praised”
In this locality bordering Turkey, the rescuers removed this Monday the bodies of his father, Abdallah Mleihan, his mother, Aafra, his three sisters, his brother and his aunt.
We were looking for Abou Roudayna (Abdallah's nickname) and his family, we first found his sister, then his wife, then Abou Roudayna, who were tight against each other
”, tells AFP on Tuesday February 7. a relative of the family still in a state of shock, Khalil Sawadi.
Then we heard a noise while we were digging (...) we cleared and found this little one, thank God,
" he adds.
The baby had the umbilical cord still connected to its mother.
We cut it and my cousin took the baby to the hospital
," continues Khalil Sawadi.
In a video circulating on social networks, we see a man brandishing in the middle of the rubble a naked baby, covered in dust, the umbilical cord still hanging.
As the temperature nears zero degrees Celsius, another throws him a blanket to cover the newborn.
- The earthquakes in Turkey and Syria have killed more than 7,000 people
“She was probably born seven hours after the earthquake”
The baby was taken to hospital in the nearby town of Afrin, where she was placed in an incubator and put on a drip to ingest vitamins.
She arrived with limbs numbed by the cold, her blood pressure had dropped.
We gave her first aid and put her on a drip because she hadn't been breastfed for a long time
,” Hani Maarouf told AFP.
The baby suffers from bruises, but his condition is stable, according to the doctor.
She was probably born seven hours after the earthquake
,” he adds, adding that she weighs 3.175 kilos and was therefore born at term.
The rescuers spent hours before being able to extricate the bodies of the rest of the family, one after the other, with weak means.
They lined them up in a relative's house, covered with sheets of different colors to identify them, while awaiting their funeral which took place on Tuesday.
In the dimly lit room, Khalil Sawadi lists their names.
We are displaced from Deir Ezzor, Abdallah is my cousin and I am married to his sister
,” he says.
More than 5000 dead
The family had fled the volatile region of Deir Ezzor, further east, believing they were safer in Jandairis, a locality controlled since 2018 by Turkish forces and pro-Turkish rebel groups.
About fifty houses collapsed in this locality in northwestern Syria, relatively close to the epicenter of the earthquake in Turkey, whose streets are littered with debris, according to an AFP correspondent.
Read alsoEarthquake in Turkey and Syria: why the earth is shaking so hard in the region
The earthquake killed more than 5,000 people in Turkey and Syria.
For the only areas beyond the control of the Syrian regime, and where aid is sorely lacking, there were some 800 dead on Tuesday.
According to the White Helmets, rescue workers who work in these regions, more than 200 buildings have completely collapsed in this area.
This group on Tuesday begged international humanitarian organizations to come to the aid of these stricken and forgotten regions.
Time is running out.
Hundreds of people are still trapped under the rubble
,” the White Helmets said.