Human Interest

Miracle newborn adopted after being rescued from Turkey earthquake rubble


A newborn baby miraculously found alive buried in the rubble after a devastating earthquake in Turkey has been adopted by her aunt and uncle.

Earlier this month, the baby girl was found under the debris of a five-story building, her umbilical cord still attached to her mother, Afraa Abu Hadiya. The baby was the only survivor out of a family of seven; both of her parents and four siblings all died. Authorities believe her mother actually gave birth after the earthquake hit, while buried in the rubble, and then ultimately died of her injuries.

The baby girl, whose survival captivated the world, has been adopted by her aunt and uncle, who promise not only to cherish her, but to keep the memory of her family alive.

Khalil al Sawadi, her uncle, helped rescue her from the rubble. Originally, authorities named her Aya, which means “sign from God” in Arabic, until al Sawadi and his wife, Hala, adopted her. They have since renamed her Afraa, after her mother.

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“She is one of my children now,” al Sawadi said. “I will not differentiate between her and my children. She will be dearer than my children because she will keep the memory alive of her father, mother and siblings.

“I will raise her in a way that she will not feel in need for anything.”

The death toll from the earthquake, which devastated parts of Turkey and Syria, has topped 47,000, according to the Associated Press. Most of those deaths were in Turkey, and hundreds of thousands of displaced people are now living in tents in both countries. Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu promised that rebuilding efforts were well underway. “Our cities will be built in the right places, our children will live in stronger cities,” he told local media. “We know what kind of test we are facing, and we will come out of this stronger.”


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