In the town of Jenderes, in northern Syria, residents and rescue workers pulled out a baby girl who was miraculously born under the rubble, and remained connected through the navel with her mother, who was killed after the earthquake destroyed the family home.
The little girl saw Al-Nour as an orphan, while all her family members were killed: her father, Abdullah Al-Muleihan, her mother, Afra, along with her four brothers, in addition to her aunt, all died.
Words fail Khalil Al-Sawadi, a relative of the family. “We were looking for Abu Rudeina (Khalil) and his family,” he says with great emotion to Agence France-Presse. “First we found his sister, then we found Umm Rudeina, and he was near her.”
He added, “We heard a sound when we were digging. We cleaned the soil to find the little girl with her navel. We cut it and my cousin took her to the hospital.”
In a video clip circulating on social media, a group of men appears on top of the rubble of a destroyed building while a man jogs from behind a yellow bulldozer carrying the infant naked except for a layer of dust mixed with blood covering her emaciated body from which the navel rope hangs.
Amid low temperatures, a man’s voice rises in the background of the video, asking for a car to be taken to the hospital, while another man runs over the rubble and throws a colorful blanket to wrap it in the middle of the low temperatures, which touched zero.
Rescue personnel and residents were able to exhume the family’s bodies after hours of searching and painstaking work with little resources, while the infant receives medical care in an incubator inside Cihan Hospital in Afrin, in the far north of Aleppo province.
Her condition is stable
Upon her arrival at the hospital, the little girl suffered from severe coldness in her extremities and a low internal temperature, after she spent hours under the rubble after her birth, according to the treating doctor’s estimation.
“We gave her first aid and gave her calcium through intravenous injections, because she stayed for hours without being breastfed,” said pediatrician Hani Maarouf, who follows up on her health condition.
He added, “Her general condition is stable, but there are severe bruises on her body.” It is likely that she received them while she was in her mother’s womb, and it is expected that the birth took place approximately seven hours after the earthquake.
Maarouf explains that her weight exceeds three kilograms, which is the normal weight of a newborn baby, which means that her mother was close to her due date.
While the little girl was under medical observation, the funeral of the rest of her family took place yesterday afternoon in Jenderes, according to an AFP correspondent in the town.
The bodies were taken, after being recovered, to a house adjacent to the destroyed building, where they were placed in a dimly lit room.
On a green sheet, the bodies of the four children are covered. And the face of a girl appears smashed and covered with dust left by the rubble, and in the other side of the room the bodies of the man, his sister and his wife are also covered.
“This is the family of the little girl who was born under the rubble,” Al-Sawadi says sadly, enumerating their names one by one.
He added, “We are displaced from Deir Ezzor. Abdullah is my cousin, and I am his sister’s husband.”