Sister shields sibling from dust during 36-hour

Wed February 8, 2023

Two children wedged between concrete in the remains of their home in northern Syria have been rescued more than 36 hours after Monday’s quake trapped their family as they slept.

The older child can be heard on film pleading with rescuers as they stand amid the ruins of the children’s home in Besnaya-Bseineh, a small village near Haram, Syria: “Get me out of here, I’ll do anything for you.”

She continues, “I’ll be your servant,” to the rescuer’s “No, no.”

They are huddled together in what might be the ruins of their bed, and the girl, Mariam, softly touches the hair on the head of her younger sibling. She is able to move her arm just far enough to shield her sibling’s face from the debris and dust.

According to their father, the younger child’s name is Ilaaf, an Islamic name that means “protection.”

According to Mustafa Zuhir Al-Sayed, the 7.8-magnitude earthquake, the worst to hit the area in more than a century of records, struck as his wife and three children were sleeping in the early hours of Monday.

“We heard the ground trembling… Then debris started to fall on top of us; we spent two days there, he claimed. We experienced a feeling that I pray no one else has to go through.

Al-Sayed claimed that while trapped under the rubble, his family recited verses from the Quran and begged aloud for a rescuer to come.

I, my wife, and the kids were saved after somebody heard us. We appreciate those who saved us and thank God that we are all still alive.

Locals may be seen on video cheering when Mariam and Ilaaf are lifted from the rubble while still wearing their blankets. The kids were rushed to the hospital, where they’re getting treatment.

In the frigid temperatures that have made survival more difficult for even those who were able to flee the collapsed structures, hope of discovering other families diminishes hour by hour.

The Al-Sayeds’ residence is located in northern Syria’s Idlib province, which is under rebel control. The Syrian Civil Defense, an organization that provides humanitarian relief and is more generally known as the “White Helmets,” estimates that at least 1,280 people have killed in areas under the control of the rebels.

The number of fatalities and injuries is “likely to climb dramatically due to the presence of hundreds of families under the rubble,” the organisation stated on Tuesday.

State-run news agency SANA claimed that at least 1,250 deaths have been confirmed in government-controlled areas of Syria, bringing the total death toll there above 2,500.

More than 11,000 people have died as a result of the earthquake that occurred over the Turkish-Syrian border; humanitarian organizations have warned that this number is likely to climb dramatically.

Even before the earthquake, the United Nations estimated that 70% of Syria’s population required humanitarian relief. Aid is now slowly reaching people in need.

In a joint statement released on Tuesday, the Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis and the United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim for Syria both stated that “this tragedy will have a devastating impact on many vulnerable families who struggle to provide for their loved ones on a daily basis.”

According to the UN and humanitarian partners, the current priority is to meet urgent needs for things like food, shelter, non-food goods, and medication.

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