Dead mother's embrace saves Iranian baby's life
( 2003-12-30 10:23) (Agencies)
A baby girl cradled in her dead mother's arms was rescued from the rubble of a collapsed building in Bam, officials said on Monday -- a rare moment of joy amid the devastation of Iran's earthquake.
The rest of her family, which officials said included sisters and brothers, were found dead.
Details of Nassim's recovery are still sketchy.
One Red Crescent Society official said the girl was discovered on Monday a full 72 hours after the quake, but rescue officials and state television later said she had been found after 37 hours.
"She is alive because of her mother's embrace," Hessamoddin Farrokhyar, Red Crescent public relations deputy director in Tehran, told Reuters. "The baby girl is in good condition considering the circumstances."
He said the girl was found in the southern part of Bam. It was not clear how she survived without food or water. Temperatures at night have been bitterly cold.
Iranian state television also reported Nassim's rescue, a sliver of hope on an otherwise bleak day when the death toll climbed toward 30,000.
"The baby girl was found after 37 hours by rescue teams," state television reported. "Unfortunately her mother was dead and she is the only one left alive in her whole family in that house."
The world's most lethal quake in at least 10 years laid waste most of Bam's mud brick buildings in seconds.
Officials have warned the death toll, which is now officially 25,000, could reach 30,000.
The quake which measured 6.3 on the Richter scale struck before dawn as people slept.
On Saturday night, rescuers found a young boy alive under the rubble, but he suffocated as people rushed forward to dig him free.
"We found a seven-year-old boy alive," said Austrian rescue worker Sabine Seichtinger. "The crowd rushed to the scene. But the boy choked and then died."
The search for children -- and the recovery of their broken lifeless bodies -- has provoked particular grief in Iran, with the media capturing heart-breaking images such as one of a man carrying the corpses of his two young sons over his shoulders and burying them together in a small grave.
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