Get me out of here Survival of Syrian brothers filmed trapped in rubble
Five-year-old Jinan is now in hospital with a serious leg injury; his brother was only scratched while the rest of their family died
Omar Rahal heard a voice under the rubble so faint he was trying to figure out if it could only be in his head. The night before, two earthquakes measuring 7.8 and 7.6 magnitude had leveled his village of Harem in the rebel-controlled Syrian province of Idlib, destroying dozens of buildings, including the home of his cousin Mahmoud, his wife and seven children.
A few hours later, Rahal, the local police chief, fell under the rubble of his home hoping that Mahmoud and his family were still alive.He had heard no sign of life all morning, but at 12:30 his ears picked up five words from what sounded like a little girl: “Take me out of here.
A few meters below the rubble, trapped between concrete, lay Mahmoud’s five-year-old daughter Jinan and her nine-month-old brother Abdullah, who comforted them under the rubble. Beside them, under the rubble of their home, lay the body of their mother, Suaad, whose arm Rahal could only see, which she appeared to be trying to encase her children to protect them.
Rahal tried to free her, but found he couldn’t do it alone.He therefore decided to film the two detained children and send the images to his police officers, asking them to intervene. The video quickly went from phone to phone, left Syrian borders and went viral, amassing around 5 million hours of views on Twitter alone and becoming a symbol of the tragedy in Idlib.
“My men came straight away and helped me get little Abdullah out, who fortunately only had a few minor scratches,” Rahal told the Guardian. “But the problem was Jinan. It was blocked by a concrete slab and had an iron bar driven through its leg.
Relief efforts in Idlib, largely cut off from the outside world for two days after the earthquake, were hampered by a lack of machinery and supplies as people were forced to dig up loved ones with their bare hands.
“To lift the concrete block blocking it, we used a jack that’s used to lift cars when a tire needs to be changed,” Rahal said. “It worked. But Jinan still had that iron bar stuck in her leg. It had to be cut.”
Rescuers attempted to sever the shaft with a thick steel blade while Jinan cried out in pain. To complicate matters further, aftershocks shook the village again. What was left of the buildings began to crumble.
“Please!” Get me out of here,” Jinan begged the men.
There was no time to lose. “We had no choice,” said Rahal. “We also risked the death and loss of a child. So we decided to do what we never wanted to do: pull Jinan out while his leg was still partially trapped in the pole.”
At around 2 a.m. Tuesday, after almost 10 p.m., the screamer was released.
A week after the rescue, Guardian visited Jinan and his younger brother at a hospital converted into a former school, where injured harem children were being treated. Abdullah slept wrapped in a woolen blanket while Jinan lay motionless on the bed in pain.
“The wound in his leg is very serious,” Wajih al-Karrat, a doctor, told him. “Jinan may never walk the same path again. i won’t lie to youIf the wound doesn’t heal, we might have to amputate his leg.
After the video was released, some media falsely reported that Jinan’s father was still alive. Unfortunately this is not the case. “Jinan and Abullah are the only survivors of the family,” Rahal said with tears in his eyes. The two children were entrusted to their uncle and his wife.
Jinan and his brother are among the countless children orphaned by the earthquake in Idlib. The death toll from the Syria earthquake has risen to more than 3,580 as UN officials push for better access to aid in the government-controlled northwest of the country.
“It’s a tragedy,” Karrat said calmly. “Jinan knows that she will be left alone with her brother, but these children here at Jinan’s bedside are also orphans.And most are still wondering where their parents are and when they will pick them up. First, we want to treat them well. At some point we have to tell them that they, too, have been orphaned.”
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