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Baby Born In Rubble Of Syria Earthquake Is Named Aya And Given A Home

A Syrian baby girl whose mother died after giving birth to her under the rubble of their home during this week’s earthquake now has a name: Aya, Arabic for “a sign from God”.

With her parents and all her siblings killed, her great-uncle, Salah al-Badran, will take her in once she is released from the hospital.

However, his own house in the north-west Syrian town of Jenderis was destroyed, too. He and his family managed to escape the one-storey building, but now he and his household of 11 people are living in a tent, he told the Associated Press.

“After the earthquake, there’s no one able to live in his house or building. Only 10% of the buildings here are safe to live in and the rest are unliveable,” he said, communicating via voice messages.

Rescue workers in Jenderis discovered Aya on Monday afternoon, more than 10 hours after the quake hit, as they were digging through the wreckage of the five-storey apartment building where her parents lived. Buried under the concrete, the baby still was connected by umbilical cord to her mother, Afraa Abu Hadiya, who was dead along with her husband and four other children. The baby was rushed to a hospital in the nearby town of Afrin.

Abu Hadiya probably gave birth to the girl and then died a few hours before they were discovered, said Dr Hani Maarouf at Cihan hospital in Afrin. “We named her Aya, so we could stop calling her a new-born baby,” said Maarouf. Her condition is improving by the day and there was no damage to her spine, as initially feared, he said.

Aya is one of untold numbers of orphans left by Monday’s 7.8-magnitude quake, which killed more than 21,000 people in northern Syria and south-eastern Turkey. The pre-dawn quake brought apartment buildings in their thousands down as residents were roused from sleep.

But despite days passing since tens of thousands of people, or more, were trapped in rubble, rescues are still being made. In Turkey, over 80 hours after the quake hit, 16-year-old Melda Adtas was pulled out alive, leaving her overjoyed father in tears and the grieving nation cheering a rare piece of good news after Monday’s 7.8-magnitude tremor.

Emergency personnel rescue 16-year-old Melda Adtas from the rubble of a collapsed building in Hatay, southern Turkey, on Thursday.

Photograph: Bülent Kılıç/AFP/Getty Images“My dear, my dear!” the father called out as rescuers pulled the teen out of the rubble of a house in Antakya, a city in one of the most affected provinces, Hatay.

It took rescue workers five hours to save her life after neighbours who had heard sounds from the splintered walls raised the alarm.

When rescuers discovered Melda, she was stuck under a wall that had collapsed.

The man leading her rescue effort was named as Suleyman, one of a group of Black Sea miners who headed south to help. Without him, said his co-workers, the operation could not have been carried out. He knows his way around dark, narrow spaces.

Working in silence to maintain contact with Melda, the rescuers removed one obstacle after another, as onlookers watched anxiously.

Melda Adtas was rescued on the fourth day after the quake hit. Photograph: Umit Turhan Coskun/NurPhoto/REX/ShutterstockThen, all of a sudden, they reached the cold, bruised, young girl, but very much alive, and gently brought her to a waiting ambulance.

Once Melda was safely in the ambulance, many hugged, kissed and congratulated the rescuers. Several could not hold back tears.

“We haven’t worked for nothing, we have pulled a girl from the rubble,” one said.

With Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.

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