Newborn babies among those hauled from earthquake ruins in Turkey and Syria as rescuers wept with joy
INCREDIBLE stories of survival emerged yesterday as newborn babies were among those hauled alive from the earthquake ruins in Turkey and Syria.
Bewildered children with faces caked in dust were lifted clear of collapsed buildings after five days, as rescuers wept tears of joy.
But hope was fading for thousands of others trapped last night — as the death toll from Monday’s 7.8 and 7.5 magnitude quakes topped 22,700.
A ten-year-old baby and a family of six were among those who emerged blinking into the daylight after miracle escapes yesterday.
The newborn tot Yagiz Ulas was pulled from the rubble, along with her mother, 90 hours after Turkey’s biggest ever recorded quake entombed families nearby.
Yagiz was found by search and rescue teams who wept with relief after freeing them from a tiny crevice under tons of rubble.
His eyes wide open and wrapped in a shiny thermal blanket, Yagiz was carried to a medical centre in Hatay province.
In Iskenderun, shouts of “God is great!” rang out as Haci Murat Kilinc and his wife, Raziye, were carried through a crowd on stretchers to a waiting ambulance.
One rescue worker said Mr Kilinc had joked with the search team while still trapped beneath the rubble, trying to boost morale.
A husband, wife and their four children also emerged after 101 hours trapped in an air pocket under a building in the city.
Rescuers burrowed to reach them just 600ft from the Mediterranean shore after the quake caused the sea to flood to within feet of them.
It is thought they survived by huddling together against freezing temperatures.
London Fire Brigade search and rescue experts freed a mum who had been entombed for four days under a collapsed building in Hatay, Turkey.
Footage showed her hugging a rescuer before being reunited with her daughter.
Adnan Korkut, 17, told how he survived by drinking his own urine to beat dehydration as he prayed.
He managed a smile as he was greeted by cheering pals and relatives while he was helped on to a stretcher in Gaziantep.
Hugging his mum, he sobbed to rescuers: “Thank God you arrived. Thank you everyone.”
Rescue worker Yasemin replied: “I have a son just like you. I swear to you, I have not slept for four days. I was just trying to get you out.”
In Kahramanmaras, applause broke out as Zeyep Civi, a 22-year-old student, was lifted out of the rubble. Her younger sister, Elif, followed in the next stretcher.
Their cousin Burak Demir said: “We thought they were dead. We had prepared their burial plot.”
And there was more hope for the miracle baby born amid quake rubble earlier this week — whose tiny frame was featured across the world’s front pages.
She has had well-wishers from around the world offering to adopt her.
Baby Aya — meaning miracle in Arabic — was still connected to her mother by her umbilical cord when she was pulled from a collapsed building in Jindayris, Syria.
Aya is now in hospital after her mother, father and all four siblings died.
Hospital manager Khalid Attiah — who has a four-month-old daughter — said his wife is breastfeeding Aya.
He said: “I won’t allow anyone to adopt her. Until her distant family return, I’m treating her like one of my own.”
Also in Syria, mum Fatmah Ahmad told how she was abandoned by medics as aftershocks hit the hospital where she had just given birth.
She said: “I wrapped my baby up and started praying for God to protect us.”
Meanwhile, Turkey’s once-prosperous Kahramanmarasş — the city closest to Monday’s quake centre — is slowly and agonisingly giving up its dead.
White sheets are held up to give the deceased some dignity as weeping family members help hoist their loved ones through the rubble.
Abdulrahim Atci, 47, gestures at a heap of wood, wrought iron and smashed concrete which was once a block of flats where his uncle Aytural lived.
The account manager said: “My uncle’s still missing but there’s no hope he’s still alive. Kahramanmaras is the hardest-hit city. We are so close to the epicentre.
“The city is broken and our hearts are broken. So many have died.”
One rescue worker at the scene estimated the death toll there could reach 15,000.
And yet amid the misery and destruction are stories of hope.
Huge amounts of aid is starting to arrive, including tents set up in a stadium in Kahramanmaras.
Britain sent thousands of thermal blankets on an RAF transport plane on Thursday evening.
A field hospital with an operating theatre and a Hercules aircraft to move casualties is also being deployed.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “The UK stands ready to assist our close allies and friends during this terrible time.”
SUN READERS RAISE £850K
The Sun’s Earthquake appeal has now hit £850,000 after generous donations from readers and British businesses.
Steve Parkin, a former coal pit miner who set up a “man and van” business in the 1990s and grew to become £1 billion enterprise Clipper Logistics, donated £100,000 to the Sun’s Red Cross fund.
Mr Parkin told The Sun “I’ve seen the harrowing scenes and devastation caused by the earthquake on the Turkey and Syria border and wanted to help in whichever way was possible”.
EG Group, the petrol station empire owned by Zuber and Mohsin Issa, who also own Asda have also pledged £100,000 and a further £25,000 from employees.
Zuber Issa, co-chief executive, said: “EG Group is pleased to support the British Red Cross through The Sun’s Earthquake Appeal following the devastation caused by the recent earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.
“EG’s Foundation and Corporate Social Responsibility colleagues are also organising additional fundraising events and activities in the Blackburn head office and across our extensive UK site network to supplement the company donation.
“Our hearts go out to all those affected by the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, and we hope they receive all the support they need from the international community in their time of need.”
Ocado Group, the grocery technology business, is also giving £25,000 to The Sun’s appeal.
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