It’s been a week since a deadly Earthquake rocked Turkey and Syria, killing thousands. But even in the midst of despair, stories of “miracles” were born. This is one of them.
Mom buried under earthquake rubble with Baby; When Necla Camuz gave birth to her second son on January 27, she named him Yagiz, which means “brave.”
Just 10 days later, at 04:17 local time, Necla was awake feeding her son at their home in the southern Turkish province of Hatay. Moments later, they were burie under rubble.
Mom buried under earthquake rubble with Baby; Necla and her family lived on the second floor of a modern five-story building in the city of Samandag. It was a “nice building,” he says, and he felt comfortable there.
Little did he know that morning that the area would be torn apart by the Turkey Earthquake, buildings damage and destroy at every turn.
“When the Turkey Earthquake started, I wanted to go to my husband, who was in the other room, and he wanted to do the same,” she says.
“But when he tried to come to me with our other son, the cupboard fell on them and they couldn’t move.
“As the tremor grew, the wall fell, the room shook, and the building shifted. When it stopped, I didn’t realize I had fallen a floor. I called out their names, but there was no response.”
The 33-year-old found herself lying with her baby on her chest, still holding him in her arms. A fallen wardrobe next to him save their lives by preventing them from being crush by a large slab of concrete.
The couple remains in this position for nearly four days.
Turkey Earthquake; Necla lay in her pajamas under the rubble and saw nothing but “pitch black”. He had to rely on his other senses to figure out what was going on.
To his relief, he immediately noticed that Yagiz was still breathing.
The dust made it difficult to breathe at first, but he said it subsided quickly. It was hot in the ruins.
He felt like there were child’s toys under him, but he couldn’t bring himself to look or feel better.
Apart from the wardrobe, the soft skin of her newborn son and the clothes on it, she found nothing but concrete and garbage.
He heard voices in the distance. He tried to shout for help and bumped into the cupboard.
“Is anyone there? Can anyone hear me?” he called me.
Turkey Earthquake; When that didn’t work, he picked up small pieces of debris that fell next to him. He tricked them into the wardrobe, hoping it would be louder. He was afraid to land on the surface above him in case it collapsed.
Still no one answered.
Necla realized that there was a possibility that no one would come.
“I was terrified,” she says.
In the darkness beneath the ruins, Necla lost all sense of time.
Life wasn’t meant to be like this.
“You plan a lot when you have a new baby, and then… all of a sudden it’s in ruins,” she says.
Still, she knew she had to take care of Yagiz and was able to breastfeed in the tight space.
There was no source of water or food that he could access on his own. In desperation, he unsuccessfully tried to drink his own breast milk.
Necla could feel the rumble of practice overhead and heard footsteps and voices, but the muffled voices were far away.
She decided to conserve her energy and stay quiet unless the sounds outside came closer.
She kept thinking about her family—the baby at her breast and her husband and son lost somewhere in the rubble.
She also worried about how other loved ones fared in the Turkey Earthquake.
Necla didn’t think she would make it out of the ruins, but Yagiz’s presence gave her reason to hope.
He slept most of the time, and when he woke up crying, she would quietly feed him until he sat down.
After more than 90 hours underground, Necla heard dogs barking. He wondered if he was dreaming.
The barking was accompanied by sounds.
“Are you okay? Knock once to say yes,” someone shouted into the ruins. “Which apartment do you live in?”
It was find.
Rescuers carefully dug into the ground to find Yagiz.
The darkness was broke by the torchlight shining into his eyes.
When the rescue team from the Istanbul Fire Department asked how old Yagiz was, Necla couldn’t be sure. All he knew was that he was 10 days old at the time of the Earthquake.
After handing Yagiz to the rescuers, Necla was take away on a stretcher in front of a large crowd. He didn’t recognize any faces.
As he was take away in an ambulance, he ask for confirmation that his other son had been save.
After the rubble
Mom buried under earthquake rubble with Baby; When she arrive at the hospital, Necla was greet by family members who told her that her six-year-old husband, Irfan, and three-year-old son, Yigit Kerim, had been rescue from the rubble.
But they were taken to a hospital in Adana province within hours with serious injuries to their legs and feet. It is remarkable that Necla and Yagiz were not seriously injure. They were keep in the hospital for 24 hours for observation before being release.
Necla had no home to return to, but a family member took her back to a makeshift blue tent made of wood and tarps. There are 13 of them in total – they all lost their homes.
In the tent, families support each other, make coffee, play board games and tell stories by a small stove.
Earthquake rocked Turkey; Necla is “trying” to come to terms with what happened to her. He says he owes Yagiz for saving his life.
“I think if my baby wasn’t strong enough to handle it, I wouldn’t be either,” she explains.
Her only dream for her son is to never go through anything like this again.
“I’m so happy that he’s a newborn and doesn’t remember anything,” she says.
When there is an incoming call, Necla smiles. From the hospital bed, Irfan and Yigit Kerim smile and wave.
“Hey warrior how are you son?” Irfan asks his child through the screen.