Istanbul — A baby girl who was rescued after being buried under earthquake rubble in Turkey for 128 hours was finally reunited with her mother on Monday. The mother and her daughter were separated when a pair of devastating, killing more than 50,000 people in Turkey and across the border in northern Syria.
The mother was initially thought to have died in the rubble in Turkey’s hard-hit Hatay province, and the baby, only about a month and a half old at the time, was placed under state care. Social workers called her Gizem, which means “mystery” in Turkish. But after a family member approached officials, a DNA test was carried out and it proved that Yaseming Besdag, who’s still being treated for her injuries in the city of Adana, is the baby’s mother.
Turkey’s Minister of Family and Social Services, Derya Yanik, shared a video Monday on Twitter showing what she said was the baby girl back in her mother’s arms for the first time in 54 days.
“To witness their happiness is an emotional and beautiful moment for us, too. Uniting a mother with her child is one of the most precious deeds in the world,” Yanik said in the video, as she stood at Besdag’s bedside.
The video showed the government minister personally helping to reunited the pair after the infant was flown to Adana from Ankara on a private plane.
The mother and baby were the only survivors from their family, as the baby girl lost her father and two brothers when the earthquakes struck.
The Family and Social Services Ministry told CBS News that 135 children were still under state care in the wake of the quakes, and the identity of 33 remained unknown as they were either too young or otherwise unable to identify themselves.
So far 1,774 children have been returned to their families in Turkey after being separated amid the chaos of the earthquakes, officials told CBS News.
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