Social media gives glimpse into hunt for Syria, Turkey quake survivors


It was the triumph of life amidst the flood of death. A newborn baby, still attached to its mother’s umbilical cord, is pulled from the rubble in northwestern Syria.

The moments of his rescue were captured on video, showing a man climbing down from the rubble with a naked, dust-covered child in his arms. It was hours after a pair of major earthquakes struck neighboring Turkey, killing thousands and leaving a trail of destruction. But there a miracle happened in Jandris village.

Similar scenes of harrowing rescues, as well as desperate searches for missing loved ones, spread across Turkey and Syria and on social media this week. The posts – including photos, videos and text – have offered the world a window into the search for survivors of one of the region’s worst earthquake disasters in nearly a century.

‘I saw death’: Aid workers plead for help after earthquake in rebel-held Syria

According to officials and aid workers, about 8,000 people have died in both countries. With thousands injured or missing, teams race to find survivors in the bitter cold.

The most dramatic was the recovery of the newborn girl in Jindars. According to accounts, her relatives heard her cries, cut her umbilical cord and pulled her from the wreckage.

Later, at a hospital in nearby Afrin, her doctor told The Associated Press that he believed she had been born under the rubble. His parents and four siblings died when their four-story house collapsed, Agence France-Presse reported.

The scale of search-and-rescue efforts is overwhelming, particularly in rebel-held pockets of northwestern Syria that are already suffering from years of war and a protracted humanitarian crisis.

The footage Footage shared on social media by Syria’s civil defense shows rescuers with headlamps on their trademark white helmets sifting through bricks until one grabs the foot of a boy named Haroun, who They crawl under the concrete slab and groan into the night air. in pain.

Kamala was completely freed from the wreckage after 40 hours of civil defense rescue operations.

Posted by Karam Kaliya on Tuesday, February 7th, 2023.

Another video shows volunteers digging for the body of a child in Atma town, which they pulled out alive after more than 20 hours. I A viral clipA young girl, who is clinging to the concrete and holding a small child in the crook of her arm, says that as long as they rescue her, she will do something for her rescuers, which the Washington Post could not confirm. Will do too.

In another, filmed by Syrian activist journalist Karam Kalyeh on Tuesday in the city of Haram in Idlib province, a young girl being pulled from the rubble is greeted with applause and chants of “God is great.” The waiting crowd passes the girl, dressed in a pink jacket with a long braid hanging down her back, from person to person — followed by another young boy and girl. Rescuers then carry a smiling man out on a stretcher. Hands reach out from all sides to touch the family that — 40 hours after the earthquake — made it back to life.

Also on the Turkish side of the border, in the post-nail biting scene, Survivors were pulled from the ruins.. In Malatya, footage released by the Turkish non-governmental organization IHH shows rescue workers pulling survivors out of the remains of a 135-bed hotel that was completely destroyed after the earthquake.

A town in Turkey is devastated by an earthquake, death is everywhere.

But many searches have not resulted in bodies being recovered alive — or at all.

Turks living in Istanbul shared leaves on Twitter Those he knew in the affected areas were pleading with aid workers for help. Some, displaced from their homes, expressed despair and a sense of defeat.

“My grandparents are still under the rubble 41 hours after the earthquake,” Kaula Fawnlen wrote on Twitter. “We’re sleeping in the car. Still shaking. Some of my childhood friends, my relatives are dead. Some are still missing. Gosh it’s so heavy.”

For members of the Syrian and Turkish diaspora, the social media posts prompted phone calls to find out the fate of their relatives — and fresh anxiety for their home countries.

Miro Kaiki, an academic living in Amsterdam and working for a Belgian university, has relied on social media to get news about her relatives in Antakya in Hatay province. Residents have criticized what they see as slow and insufficient mobilization of relief efforts by Turkish authorities there.

Kayikci’s cousin and her 8-year-old son are trapped under their building. “We heard that they were alive, that they were calling out from under the rubble,” he said in an interview late Tuesday. Heavy machinery arrived on Tuesday night to help dig out the debris.

Relatives from Istanbul have been sharing updates on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, which Kaiki uses to exchange information with her father through social media as regular phone lines are down.

In England, Karimuljian first saw the news of the earthquake on Twitter.

The 26-year-old doctor, who was born in Aleppo and grew up in Britain, woke up late while visiting his parents in Lancashire. Early Monday morning, his feed exploded with reports of the first earthquake, centered in Turkey’s Kahramanmaras province. Gian knew that if Idlib was badly shaken, the outcome would not be good.

He said that there is no such thing as a stable building in Idlib. “The buildings have been damaged by continuous bombing for over a decade now.”

Jayan broke the news to his father, who called his grandmother to the village of Aldana in Idlib where his extended family lives. She and Jian’s aunt were unharmed, but her grandmother’s building was damaged, with cracks in its walls. Her grandmother, who has Alzheimer’s, was lucky: Some of the neighbors’ houses were completely leveled, she said.

Community Facebook pages gave Jian hundreds of miles away glimpses of the damage to his family’s village.

“It is difficult to distinguish what has been bombed or what has been destroyed by an earthquake,” he said.

On Tuesday evening, Jayan was able to contact his cousin Abdul Rahman, who was completing his residency in trauma and orthopedics in Idlib. They were taking a break after a 24-hour shift treating patients injured in the earthquake, he said – before heading back to the hospital.

Ram Acad and Vanessa Larson in Washington contributed to this report.

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