Newborn Pulled from Rubble as Turkey, Syria Death Toll Could Reach 20,000

In a miracle rescue, a newborn baby girl has been saved from the rubble in the devastating earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria earlier this week, which may have claimed 20,000 lives.

Newborn Baby Girl Sole Survivor from Her Family

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Southeastern Turkey and Northwestern Syria on Monday morning, causing widespread damage in both nations.

With its epicenter near Turkey’s Gaziantep, the tremor hit areas that had already been devastated by the unending Syrian Civil War that erupted in 2011.

The latest massive earthquake is the strongest to hit Turkey since the 1999 Izmit earthquake on the country’s Aegean Sea coast, which claimed 18,000 lives.

The Gaziantep tremor is also the strongest worldwide since the March 11, 2011, nine-magnitude earthquake off the coast of Japan. This killed almost 20,000 people and led to a disaster in the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

While the official death toll from the Turkey-Syria tremor presently stands at about 7,000, the figure is rapidly growing; local and international rescue teams are finding more and more dead bodies and some survivors.

In possibly the most remarkable rescue case so far, emergency workers in Syria saved a baby girl whose mother had just died during her childbirth, US Sun reported.

It is believed the pregnant woman in Syria’s Jindires was trapped beneath the earthquake debris for more than a day. The mother managed to give birth to her baby daughter all on her own before passing away after childbirth.

The newborn, whose father is also believed to have perished in the tremor, was discovered still tied to her mother with her umbilical cord.

The report said the mother was an internal refugee in Syria, having been displaced by the war from the Deir Ezzor region. The baby was taken to receive medical care in a clinic in Afrin. Khalil al-Suwadi, a cousin, said the girl was the only survivor from her immediate family.

23 Million People Affected

Survivors clinging to life under the rubble have been sending voice notes, videos, and live locations with calls for help, Turkish journalist Ibrahim Haskologlu is quoted as saying.

He declared, however, that “tragically,” in many cases, rescuers were powerless to reach those still alive in time to save them. Haskologlu called for help from the outside world.

Over 2,000 people have been reported killed in Syria by the Gaziantep earthquake, while at least twice as many have been injured; the figures remain far from conclusive. In Turkey, at least 4,500 people have been reported dead as of Wednesday morning.

Adelheid Marschang, the senior emergency officer of the World Health Organization, emphasized that Syria needed more substantial humanitarian aid, as the earthquake-hit regions have already been ruined by almost 12 years of war.

According to data from the United Nations, 70% of the Syrian population was in need of humanitarian aid even before the deadly tremor. In Turkey, the national government declared a three-month emergency in 10 of the country’s provinces in the southeast.

According to estimates by the World Health Organization, the death toll could reach 20,000. More than 5,000 buildings have collapsed and some 23 million people may be affected by the earthquake’s aftermath in both countries.

This article appeared in The State Today and has been published here with permission.