Aya, the Syrian newborn who survived devastating earthquakes

Her parents and four siblings died. The hospital is waiting for a close relative to pick her up before handing her over to a foster family.

The three earthquakes in Turkey and Syria on Feb. 6 and 7 left tens of thousands dead and injured nearly 100,000 people. In addition, an uncertain number of people are still missing under the rubble of the infrastructure collapsed by the earthquakes. In recent days, there have been hundreds stories of the suffering and devastation experienced by the locals. However, there have been others of survival and perseverance, such as the case of a child named Aya.

The child was born a few days before the earthquakes. Her mother, Abu Hadiya, gave birth to her daughter moments before the quake shook in Jindires, Syria, where they lived. Aya's parents and four siblings died, buried under tons of broken foundation.

After being located under the rubble, baby Aya was quickly evacuated to the nearest hospital. Aya showed severe symptoms of hypothermia, in addition to having numerous wounds all over her small body. Dr. Hani Maarouf, the professional who treated her at the medical center, was the one who decided on her name. "She arrived on Monday in very bad shape, she had bumps, bruises, she was cold and barely breathing. We named her Aya," he said.

Dr. Maarouf learned how the little girl managed to survive, hence his choice of the name Aya, which means "miracle or sign from God" in Arabic.

Waiting for a family member to claim Aya

This story spread so far that thousands of families offered to adopt her. Despite this, Dr. Khalid Attiah, director of the hospital where Aya remains in an incubator, assured BBC that until a close relative claims guardianship, he will not let anyone take her in:

I will not allow anyone to adopt her now. Until her distant family returns, I will treat her as one of my own.

A great-uncle of Aya's has already contacted the hospital to fetch the little girl for care, reports The Guardian. Dr. Attiah confirmed that Aya has suffered no damage to her spine and is recovering quickly from the injuries she sustained.