Thousands of babies born in quake zone

Thousands of babies born in quake zone

Gonca Şenay -ANKARA
Thousands of babies born in quake zone

Following the devastating earthquakes in Türkiye’s southern province of Kahramanmaraş, women in the region have given birth to 6,447 babies so far, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has announced.

“Since the first day of the disaster, the number of pregnancy follow-ups in the region has reached 10,489; the number of post-partum follow-ups reached 10,056, and the number of newborn follow-ups reached 37,586. Within the scope of newborn screening, 10,113 have undergone heel blood collection and 5,152 babies were screened for spinal muscular atrophy [SMA]. The provision of child vaccination services continued with 154,212 doses of vaccine,” Koca added.

Since the day of the quakes, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has been in the quake zone. They are working in coordination with the government and many other organizations to supply the basic needs of women.

Mother-baby kits and hygiene kits are delivered through UNFPA’s own means and donations collected. Hygiene kits include items such as underwear, hygienic pads, cotton pads and detergent, while mother-baby kits include diapers, onesies, overalls, soap and wet wipes.

UNFPA Türkiye Communications Manager Zeynep Atılgan has shared the stories of quake-survivor women.

“We met a woman who had a c-section appointment for Feb. 7. She said that she barely got out of there before their house collapsed. Then they went to the hospital and watched it collapse as well. She was brought to Şanlıurfa by ambulance. Now her baby is in an incubator due to late delivery. We gave this woman a mother-baby kit, post-partum sets, blankets, onesies and cotton pads, as we don’t want them to worry about their basic needs while dealing with all of this,” Atılgan said.

“On the one hand, new lives are coming into the world… Survivor families are unable to celebrate this. They have no idea about how to raise their newborn babies after this disaster. While focusing on the dead and injured, and providing shelter to survivors, we also need to focus on mothers and childbirths. Because childbirth does not stop because of an earthquake,” she added.

As the death toll rises in the disaster of the century, pregnant women who survived and migrated to other cities continue to give birth to their children as well.

Sara Çakır, who got out of the rubble, gave birth to her son Ali Eren in Mersin after longing for a baby for four years.

“I prayed that I would not die before seeing my baby,” she said.

Kübra Koluş, who fled to Kocaeli with her husband after their neighborhood was destroyed in Hatay, named her newborn son ‘Umut’ (Hope in English).