A baby who spent 128 hours trapped under rubble after a powerful earthquake devastated Turkey and Syria earlier this year has been reunited with her mother.
The three-and-a-half month old girl, who health officials named “mystery”, was rescued from the ruins of a destroyed building in Hatay on February 11 and urgently hospitalised, according to local publications. On Saturday — 54 days later — heartwarming photos of the mum and daughter’s “beautiful” reunion were posted on Twitter by Derya Yanik, the country’s minister of family and social services.
It’s understood the woman, who was previously reported to be dead, has been receiving treatment at a different hospital but a DNA test confirmed their relationship, Haberet reports. The images show the woman cuddling and kissing her infant as she sits in a hospital bed.
“After the earthquake, we brought together another child, who was taken into institutional care in Ankara, with her family. Vetin Begdaş, whom nurses named baby Gizem, was reunited with her mother 54 days later in Adana,” Ms Yanik wrote.The miracle meeting has since gone viral, with thousands of people rejoicing in the “great news”.
“Amazing,” one woman wrote, while another praised the “wonderful outcome”. “Amid all the sadness and horror, it’s good to remember that sometimes things do work out well,” someone else said. “What a lovely story. Mum and baby together again. Hope mum is well enough to look after her baby and can enjoy the rest of her life,” one man wished.
UN scrambles to reunite families
The reunion has appeared to provide a glimmer of hope after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake and its aftershocks struck southeastern Turkey and northern Syria on February 6, reducing huge swathes of towns and cities to mountains of broken concrete and twisted metal.
The quake killed at least 50,000 people, including about 6,000 in Syria, according to the United Nations. Tens of thousands are still missing and hundreds of thousands were left homeless.
Baby Vetin was just one of several children who were found buried among the ruins. A seven-month-old child was rescued in Turkey after spending 139 hours under rubble, while a 12-year-old girl was saved after being trapped for 147 hours.
Reuniting children with their missing family has become a top priority in the aftermath of the quake, the head of the UN children’s agency said last month. “The first challenge is figuring out if (the) children’s parents are alive in some place, and if they are trying to reunite them,” UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell said, speaking at a school in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo.
In Turkey, Ms Yanik previously said that more than 1,800 “unaccompanied children” have been reunited with their families since the deadly disaster, but there were still dozens of other children left to identify.
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