Devastating images of a little girl who was found under earthquake rubble protecting her baby brother, have gone viral online.
The recent 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck southern Turkey and northern Syria on February 6, 2023 has left a trail of destruction in its wake.
With a death toll surpassing 11,000 and over 30,000 people injured, the disaster has affected a large number of individuals in the region.
Areas such as Gaziantep, Diyarbakir in Turkey and Aleppo in Syria were some of the hardest hit and the tremors were felt as far as Cairo, Egypt.
According to Adelheid Marschang, a senior emergency officer from the World Health Organization, the number of individuals affected by the earthquake could be as high as 23 million people in the quake-hit area.
The devastating earthquake has put a significant strain on the already fragile situation in the affected region, which is home to millions of refugees from the Syrian civil war and is divided between government-controlled territory and the country’s last opposition-held enclave.
Health facilities in northern Syria are overwhelmed with the huge number of wounded and medical personnel are working around the clock to respond to the crisis.
One image that has circulated on social media and highlights the terrible circumstances of the disaster is that of a young Syrian girl who was trapped under the rubble while protecting her baby brother.
The girl was filmed placing her hand over her sibling’s head, shielding him from the debris. Thankfully, the siblings were rescued safely after 17 hours and the news was tweeted by United Nations representative Mohammad Safa, “The 7-year-old girl who kept her hand on her little brother’s head to protect him while they were under the rubble for 17 hours has made it safely. I see no one sharing. If she were dead, everyone would share! Share positivity.”
While under the rubble of her collapsed home this beautiful 7yr old Syrian girl has her hand over her little brothers head to protect him.
They both made it out ok. pic.twitter.com/GrffWBGd1C
— Vlogging Northwestern Syria (@timtams83) February 7, 2023
In response to the disaster, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared a state of emergency in 10 provinces in order to manage the response and deal with the aftermath of the earthquake.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of the UK has expressed his deep condolences for the tragic loss of life and has pledged the UK’s steadfast support to President Erdogan.
A 77-strong British search and rescue team has already arrived in Gaziantep with specialist equipment and dogs, ready to assist with the rescue efforts. A Downing Street spokeswoman stated, “The Prime Minister confirmed that a 77-strong British search and rescue team arrived in Gaziantep today with specialist equipment and dogs, in response to a request from the Turkish government, and will immediately start work assisting with the rescue effort.”
In the face of such a disaster, it is heartening to see communities come together to support one another and work towards recovery. However, the situation remains dire for many individuals in the affected region and there is still much work to be done to address their needs.
The image of the young Syrian girl shielding her baby brother is a poignant reminder of the human toll of the disaster and the resilience and strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity.
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