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CNN reports from largest trauma hospital in the Turkish quake zone
02:48 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Like those of thousands of families across Turkey and Syria, the Fansas’ lives were shattered by last week’s earthquakes. But Nilay Fansa and her husband, Cengiz, are also holding tight to their “miracle baby.”

The February 6 quakes trapped the family beneath the rubble that had been their seven-story apartment building in Kahramanmaras, Turkey. Nilay was pulled free about 14 hours later, then her 4-year-old daughter, Nil, and finally Cengiz.

The body of middle daughter Alin, 2, was found four days after the quake, and the Fansas assumed that baby Birce had also been killed.

The Fansa family -- Nilay and Cengiz with daughters Birce, Alin and Nil -- in December.

“We were still in shock after the event,” Nilay told CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta through an interpreter on Tuesday. “At that point, it being the fifth day, we thought we would be seeing her lifeless body.”

They didn’t know that just minutes after the quake, a neighbor who thought they were following the sounds of a cat had helped find 8-month-old Birce alive in the rubble.

“When the earthquake struck, she was flung from the fifth floor,” Nilay said. “She basically fell from the window. And that’s how she survived, as well – otherwise, the spot where her cot had been was completely crushed under concrete.

“That’s why she’s a miracle baby.”

After Birce was freed, she spent five days in intensive care with a broken leg, a fractured skull and some bleeding in her brain. None of her rescuers had recognized her, so social media users shared pictures in hopes of finding her family.

Back among the ruins, Nilay’s sister mentioned to a neighbor that the Fansas were still searching for the baby.

Birce's doctors say she's on the road to recovery.

“I saw her being pulled out the very first day,” the neighbor replied, according to Nilay. “In fact, I saw a rescue take place just half an hour later.”

Through the social media posts, the family identified baby Birce and learned that she had been taken to Adana City Teaching and Research Hospital, the largest trauma hospital in the quake zone, where they were finally reunited.

“Of course, I’m devastated about my other daughter,” Nilay told Gupta. But Birce is getting better, and “God willing, hopefully she’ll be discharged soon.”

Survival stories are becoming more rare eight days after the quake, which killed more than 41,200 people across Turkey and Syria.

UNICEF has said it is “tragically clear” that the number of children killed “will continue to grow.”

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James Elder, a spokesman for the United Nations children’s agency, said 4.6 million children live in the 10 Turkish provinces hit by the disaster, while in Syria, 2.5 million children have been affected.

The World Health Organization is stressing the need to “focus on trauma rehabilitation” for the survivors.

WHO Turkey Representative Batyr Berdyklychev highlighted the “growing problem” of a “traumatized population,” forecasting the need for psychological and mental health services in the affected regions.

“People only now start realizing what happened to them after this shock period,” he said Tuesday in Adana.

CNN’s Amanda Sealy, Nadia Kounang, Talia Kayali, Aliza Kassim Khalidi, Rhea Mogul and Sana Noor Haq contributed to this report.