JINDIRES, Syria — Residents in a northwest Syrian town discovered a crying infant whose mother appears to have given birth to her while buried underneath the rubble of a five-story apartment building leveled by this week’s devastating earthquake, relatives and a doctor said Tuesday.
The newborn girl was found buried under the debris with her umbilical cord still connected to her mother, Afraa Abu Hadiya, who was found dead, they said. The baby was the only member of her family to survive from the building collapse Monday in the small town of Jinderis, next to the Turkish border, Ramadan Sleiman, a relative, told The Associated Press.
The rescuers found the baby Monday afternoon, more than 10 hours after the quake struck. A female neighbor cut the cord, and she and others rushed with the baby to a children’s hospital in the nearby town of Afrin, where she has been kept in an incubator, said the physician treating the baby, Dr. Hani Maarouf.
The baby’s body temperature had fallen to 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) and she had bruises, including a large one on her back, but she is in stable condition, he said. Maarouf said he believed the baby had been born about three hours before being found, given the amount her temperature had dropped.
Monday’s pre-dawn 7.8 magnitude earthquake, followed by multiple aftershocks, caused widespread destruction across southern Turkey and northern Syria. The death toll has surpassed 5,000 and continues to mount with more bodies discovered.
Jinderis, located in the rebel-held enclave of northwest Syria, was hard hit in the quake, with multiple buildings that collapsed.
The town saw another dramatic rescue Monday evening, when a toddler was pulled alive from the wreckage of a collapsed building. Video from the White Helmets, the emergency service in the region, shows a rescuer digging through crushed concrete amid twisted metal until the little girl, named Nour, appeared. The girl, still half buried, looks up dazedly as they tell her, “Dad is here, don’t be scared. … Talk to your dad, talk.”
A rescuer cradled her head in his hands and tenderly wiped dust from around her eyes before she was pulled out.