16 babies who were found alone without their mothers in the aftermath of an earthquake in parts of Turkey and Syria, have safely been transported to the country’s capital.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s plane was used to carry 16 babies from Kahramanmaras to Ankara following the devastating 7.8 and 7.5 magnitude tremors in southeastern Turkey and Syria on Monday.
The plane has been put on standby to be used for earthquake-related activities including carrying medical teams and aid to regions of the country.
It is also being used to transport critically injured people to Ankara for treatment.
All 16 babies on board the flight were found alone in the earthquake zones. They were collected by the foster mothers of the Ministry of Family and Social Services from the plane which landed at Esenbo?a Airport. From there, they were taken to Etlik City Hospital.
Heartwarming images show the infants in the arms of rescuers on board the plane, wrapped in multiple blankets amid a cold snap in the country.
The babies, who are believed to be unharmed, will now be taken into care in the children’s organisation affiliated with the Ministry of Family and Social Services.
Two of the babies were removed from debris caused by the earthquake, meaning that they have yet to be identified. The other 14 were being treated at hospitals in Kahramanmaras at the time of the quake but authorities are as of yet unable to reach their families.
The Turkish President’s wife Emine Erdogan visited the babies at Etlik City Hospital on Wednesday February 8.
The earthquakes were felt in multiple countries across the Middle East, with Turkey and its war-torn southern neighbour Syria the worst affected. Thousands of people in both countries are known to have been killed.
The United States Geological Survey, which has recorded more than 60 earthquakes and aftershocks in the region in the last 24 hours. Countries from across the world have offered aid, with rescue workers from Europe, Asia, and the Americas all flying in to help the efforts of the emergency services.
Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared seven days of national mourning, while buildings in Israel and Bosnia have been lit up in memory of those who have died.