Search icon


08th Feb 2023

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

Charlie Herbert

More than 11,000 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 11,000 people are now known to have been killed across the two countries, with a further 30,000 injured.

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 epicentre of Gaziantep are set to drop to overnight lows of -7C, meaning time is of the essence for rescue workers and charities.

Earlier in the week, footage was shared online of a newly-born baby being rescued from the rubble.

The newborn’s mother is thought to have died after giving birth. The rest of her family is also said to have perished.

On Wednesday, the European Union sent €3.5m (£3.1m) in aid to Syria. This was after they announced an initial €3m (£2.7m) in aid to Turkey.

Both countries had activated the bloc’s Civil Protection Mechanism, the BBC reports.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has pledged the UK’s “steadfast support” to President Erdogan during a phone call following the devastating earthquake.

A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “Prime Minister Rishi Sunak spoke to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan this afternoon, following the devastating earthquakes which struck Türkiye [Turkey] and Syria.

“He expressed his deep condolences for the tragic loss of life and pledged the UK’s steadfast support.

“The Prime Minister confirmed that a 77-strong British search and rescue team arrived in Gaziantep today with specialist equipment and dogs, in response to a request from the Turkish government, and will immediately start work assisting with the rescue effort.”

The likes of Oxfam and the British Red Cross have set up emergency appeals for donation and aid to help those affected by the natural disaster.

Meanwhile, UK government will match pound-for-pound the amount raised by the Disaster Emergency Committee’s appeal.

Top stories: