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Miracle and tragedy as baby born under the rubble in Syria

A baby that was born under the rubble has miraculously survived as frantic rescuers race to find people trapped under more than 5,700 collapsed buildings in Turkey and Syria.

The newborn was pulled alive and still attached to its umbilical cord from under a flattened building in Syria, according to reports.

But tragically the baby girl’s mother, who had reportedly gone into labour when the first magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck on Monday, died from the impact.

The infant is believed to be the sole survivor of a family whose immediate relatives were all crushed, and their dead bodies pulled from their destroyed home.

Footage being shared online shows the moment a rescuer lifts the naked child from the pile of ruins.

The infant’s body is covered in dust and her arms dangle as she is rushed to safety.

The newborn baby receives medical care at a clinic in Afrin. Photo: Getty

State of emergency declared

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan declared a three-month state of emergency covering 10 provinces hit by the earthquake as the death toll rose past 7200.

The areas were called a disaster zone in a bid to bolster rescue efforts.

Overwhelmed rescuers are struggling to save people, with despair mounting and the scale of the disaster hampering relief efforts.

Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said 5775 buildings had been destroyed in the quake, which had been followed by 285 aftershocks, and that 20,426 people had been injured.

It’s estimated some 13.5 million people in Turkey are affected and severe weather is making it difficult to bring aid to the regions.

As freezing winter weather hampered search efforts through a second night, there were numerous stories of victims being found alive under slabs.

In another rescue captured on video, a young boy’s foot could be seen protruding from a slight crack between layers of crushed concrete before he was pulled out in Qatma, Syria.

The World Health Organisation said it was especially concerned about areas of Turkey and Syria where no information had emerged since the quake struck, its chief said.

“It’s now a race against time,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

“Every minute, every hour that passes, the chances of finding survivors alive diminishes.”

In the Syrian city of Hama, Abdallah al Dahan said funerals of several families who perished were taking place on Tuesday.

“It’s a terrifying scene in every sense,” said Mr Dahan, contacted by phone.

“In my whole life I haven’t seen anything like this, despite everything that has happened to us,” he added. Mosques had opened their doors to families whose homes were damaged.

A young survivor was pulled from a collapsed building in Hatay, Turkey. Photo: Getty

The Syrian civil defence, a rescue service known as the White Helmets and famous for digging people from the rubble of government air strikes, said the situation was overwhelming.

“There are lot of efforts by our teams, but they are unable to respond to the catastrophe and the large number of collapsed buildings,” group head Raed al-Saleh said.

A top United Nations humanitarian official in Syria said fuel shortages and the harsh weather were creating obstacles to its response.

“The infrastructure is damaged, the roads that we used to use for humanitarian work are damaged, we have to be creative in how to get to the people,” UN resident coordinator El-Mostafa Benlamlih told Reuters from Damascus.

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