Turkey earthquake: Dozens call with offer to adopt baby girl Aya pulled from rubble

More than 20,700 deaths have been recorded in the world’s deadliest earthquake since 2010

Baby Aya lies in an incubator at a children's hospital in Afrin, in Syria's Aleppo province, on Tuesday. AP
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Dozens of people have offered to adopt a baby girl whose mother died giving birth to her under the rubble of their home in north-west Syria during Monday's earthquake.

Video footage on social media showed the newborn surrounded by destroyed buildings in the freezing winter before a man carried her away on Tuesday.

Her parents reportedly died in the building collapse in Jenderes, near the city of Afrin, which sustained major damage in the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria.

All four of her siblings also died as a result of the quake, reports said.

Now baby Aya, as she has been named, is safe at a Syrian American Medical Society hospital, a senior member of staff for the organisation told The National.

Her father's uncle Salah Al Badran, whose own house was destroyed, will take in baby Aya.

Mr Al Badran and his family managed to escape their one-story house. Now he and his 11-member family are living in a tent.

“After the earthquake, there’s no one able to live in his house or building. Only 10 per cent of the buildings here are safe to live in and the rest are unlivable,” he told AP through voice messages.

Rescue workers in the now-decimated town of Jenderis discovered Aya on Monday afternoon, while an umbilical cord connected her with her death mother.

She was taken to a hospital in Afrin by a distant relative, arriving "in such a bad state", Dr Hani Marouf, a paediatrician, told the BBC.

"She had bumps, bruises, she was cold and barely breathing,” he said.

Hospital manager Dr Khalid Attiah told the BBC he had received dozens of calls from people all over the world wanting to adopt baby Aya.

Before Aya's uncle was found, Dr Attiah, who has a daughter who is four months older, said: “I won’t allow anyone to adopt her now. Until her distant family return, I’m treating her like one of my own.”

Thousands more have taken to social media to ask if they can adopt little Aya.

One prospective parent emailed a reporter at The National after seeing a report on its website on Tuesday.

“Something compelled me to write to you and ask if you have any contacts that I could reach out to about adopting this baby,” said the email.

“I'm sure there are so many other babies and small children that may have been orphaned in Syria after this terrible earthquake and need help.”

One Kuwaiti TV anchor said: “I'm ready to take care of and adopt this child if legal procedures allow me to.”

UAE aid flights land in Syria

UAE aid flights land in Syria

Hopes were fading on Friday morning of finding more people alive after the devastating earthquake.

More than 20,700 deaths have been recorded so far in the world’s deadliest earthquake since 2010.

Rescuers pulled more survivors from beneath collapsed buildings late on Thursday, including a girl, 10, in Antakya district in Turkey’s Hatay province.

DHA news agency said after making initial contact with the child, rescuers worked for 32 hours at the site to clear a passage to her.

Medics had to amputate one of her arms to free the girl from the rubble because removing the block that was crushing her would have endangered her further, the news agency reported.

The girl’s parents and three siblings were found dead.

An hour before that, rescuers pulled a girl, 17, from the rubble in Adiyaman province. Miners and others brought her out and medics took her to an ambulance on a stretcher, with an IV bag hanging.

They briefly clapped before a rescuer asked for silence. Also, a 20 year old was rescued in Kahramanmaras by IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation workers, who shouted “God is Great”.

Updated: February 10, 2023, 8:18 AM