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09th Feb 2023

Little girl spends 17 hours protecting her baby brother’s head under earthquake rubble

Charlie Herbert

More than 15,000 people have died in the disaster

Heartbreaking footage has been shared online of a little girl protecting her baby brother’s head after the siblings were trapped under earthquake rubble in Syria.

On Monday, a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit southern Turkey and northern Syria. This was followed by a 7.5 magnitude tremor that struck just hours later, whilst the initial search and rescue work was underway.

More than 15,000 people are now known to have been killed across the two countries.

Perhaps few images have brought home the human tragedy of the quake than this though.

In the short clip, a seven-year-old girl can be seen protecting her younger brother by placing her hand over his head.

The pair had been trapped under the rubble for 17 hours and were both rescued safely in the end.

Sharing an image of the siblings, United Nations (UN) representative Mohammad Safa tweeted: “The 7-year-old girl who kept her hand on her little brother’s head to protect him while they were under the rubble for 17 hours has made it safely.

“I see no one sharing. If she were dead, everyone would share! Share positivity.”

The main areas hit by the disaster have been Gaziantep and Diyarbakir in Turkey and Aleppo in Syria, but Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said 13 million of the country’s 85 million had been affected in some way, with a state of emergency declared in 10 of the country’s provinces.

Thousands of people are still trapped under the rubble and debris across the affected areas in both Syria and Turkey.

The BBC reports that temperatures in the epicenter of Gaziantep are set to drop to overnight lows of -7C, meaning time is of the essence for rescue workers and charities.

Dóchas, the Irish network for international development and humanitarian organisations, has shared a list of organisations the Irish public can support during this devastating time.

They include UNICEF, Oxfam Ireland and the Irish Red Cross.

Click here to help support those affected by the devastating earthquake.