Written by: Cassy Fiano-Chesser
Article source: www.liveaction.org

With over 45,000 people currently reported as dead in the Kahramanmaras earthquake affecting Turkey and Syria, stories of miracle survivors — like a newborn baby saved after being born in the rubble — have served as a ray of hope in a very dark time. Another story has begun to touch hearts as well, as video leaked of heroic NICU nurses taking action to save the lives of premature infants, even at the risk of their own.

Fatma Şahin, a Turkish politician and mayor of Gaziantep, shared a video on Twitter, which quickly went viral. In it, nurses Devlet Nizam and Gazel Çalışkan can be seen rushing into the neonatal intensive care unit and holding the incubators steady, instead of running for safety, while the 7.8 magnitude earthquake raged. They didn’t let go until the shaking stopped.


According to Reuters, millions of people have been left homeless, as the death toll reached over 39,000 in Turkey and nearly 6,000 in Syria. Many survivors are questioning how this was even able to happen.

“It was said to be earthquake-safe, but you can see the result,” Hamza Alpaslan told Reuters of the Ronesans Rezidans apartment building, which crumbled in the earthquake with hundreds of people inside. “It’s in horrible condition. There is neither cement nor proper iron in it. It’s a real hell.”

Ghanaian soccer star Christian Atsu lived in the building, and is one of the people still missing. In addition to playing for the Ghanaian national team, Atsu played for Hatayspor, a Turkish soccer team. He had elected to stay home after having won a major game for his team, despite originally planning to leave. “This was his destiny. He had a ticket to go but because he scored, he changed his mind about leaving,” Hatayspor club manager Fatih Ilek said. “He was caught in an earthquake on his happiest day.” His agent reported that his room has been found, along with several pairs of his shoes, but Atsu himself remains missing.

“I still pray, and believe that he is alive,” Claire Rupio, his partner, told BBC News. “I appeal for the Hatayspor club, the Turkish authorities and the British government to send out the equipment to get people out of the rubble — especially my partner and father of my children.”

Jim Chaston, a firefighter from Kent, is one of 77 firefighters from the United Kingdom who traveled to Turkey to help the rescue effort. “It’s a rollercoaster of emotions. But if you allow yourself [to be] wrapped up in the moment, you’re ineffective,” he said. “The elation of being able to pull someone out of a collapsed building is actually quite short-lived. For every one you’re able to be successful on, there’s another 10 in the next hour where you have to have that difficult conversation that at this moment in time, we can’t find any signs of life in that building. I don’t think there is anything to prepare you for that.”

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Date published: 25/02/2023

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