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The incredible “little miracle” born under the rubble in the Syria earthquake

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Rami al SAYED / AFP

Le nourrisson a été conduit à l'hôpital de la ville proche d'Afrine.

Agnès Pinard Legry - published on 02/23/23

With over 46,000 dead, this incredible rescue is a glimmer of hope in the horror.

She’s a glimmer of hope in the horror. As the death toll from the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that devastated Turkey and Syria on Monday, February 6, continues to rise – more than 46,000 dead, according to Reuters and rising after another recent tremor – there is a “small miracle” currently circulating on social networks.

In Jindayris, a town in the province of Aleppo also devastated by the earthquake, a baby was found alive under the rubble. Already nicknamed “the miracle girl of Jindayris” – and given the name Aya, meaning “miracle” in Arabic – she’s the only survivor of her family. Her father, mother, three sisters, brother, and aunt all perished in the collapse of their four-story building.

“We were looking for Abu Roudayna (her father) and his family. We first found his sister, then his wife, then Abu Roudayna, who were grouped together near each other,” Khalil Sawadi, a family member, told AFP on Tuesday, February 7. “We heard a noise as we were digging (…) we cleared away and found this little one, God be praised.”

In a video widely shared and viewed more than a million times on social networks, a man can be seen pulling a completely naked newborn baby out of the rubble, covered in dust, before swaddling her in a blanket. Found under the rubble, the little girl was still connected by the umbilical cord to her mother, who gave birth to her before she died. “We cut it and my cousin took the baby to the hospital,” said Khalil Sawadi. The infant was taken to the hospital in the town located near Afrin.

“She arrived with numb limbs from the cold, and her blood pressure had dropped. We gave her first aid and put her on a drip, as she had not been breastfed for a long time,” Dr. Hani Maarouf told AFP. Placed in an incubator, the baby suffers from bruises, but her general condition is stable. “She was probably born 7 hours after the earthquake,” said the doctor, adding that she weighed 3.175 kilos and was therefore born at term.

Dr. Maarouf told the BBC that although many people have offered to adopt Aya, “I won’t allow anyone to adopt her now. Until her distant family return, I’m treating her like one of my own.” This is more than just words; the news network reports that the doctor’s wife is “breastfeeding her alongside their own daughter.”

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