DNA test helps reunite mother with baby 54 days after Turkey earthquake rescue

Test helps confirm identity of baby’s mother who is receiving treatment in southern Turkey

Shweta Sharma
Tuesday 04 April 2023 10:39 BST
Baby found after Turkey quake

A matching DNA test has helped a mother reunite with her baby who was rescued 128 hours after devastating twin earthquakes struck the Turkey-Syria border in February.

The baby was handed over to the mother on Saturday by the country’s Family and Social Services minister Derya Yanik, 54 days after her rescue, reported Anadolu agency.

The baby girl was named “Gizem”, a Turkish word meaning “mystery”, by nurses after being miraculously rescued alive from under the rubble after 128 hours in Turkey’s Hatay province.

The baby was initially taken to a hospital in southern Adana province but later shifted to an institution in capital Ankara – about 490km to the north of Adana – affiliated with the ministry.

Her mother, however, remained in Adana city, where she was receiving treatment herself.

As part of the efforts by the ministry to find unidentified minors without family, baby Gizem’s DNA sample matched with the woman, identified as Yasemin Begdaş.

The baby was flown in a private plane from Ankara to Adana City Hospital, where she was reunited with her mother after 54 days.

It is not clear how the baby got seperated from the mother.

Sharing her pictures with the baby onboard the plane, Ms Yanik said “the compassionate hand of our state will continue to be on our beautiful baby”.

Ms Yanik said “the baby is truly a miracle”. “The fact that she survived and had no health problems pulled at our heartstrings,” she said.

“‘Mystery’ is now our baby too,” she said, adding that the ministry will continue to support the baby.

The baby lost her father and two brothers in the devastating 6 February earthquakes that killed around 50,000 people, leaving swathes of destruction in the two neighbouring countries.

There have been several reports of miraculous rescues of children and adults alike in the disaster.

In Turkey, 44,218 people died in the earthquakes, the country’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority said.

In Syria, 5,914 people were reported dead.

A earthquake measuring 7.7 struck southeastern Turkey and northern Syria on 6 February, followed by a second 7.6 quake. The region recorded around 9,000 aftershocks.

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