Authorities are still discovering what happened during the horrific earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria last week, leaving some 41,000 people dead. Authorities are still uncovering survivors and bodies from the wreckage more than a week later.
The incident was particularly harrowing for healthcare workers who work in the area. Dramatic security camera footage shows a group of NICU nurses clinging to the incubators to prevent them from falling over while the ground shook violently all around them. Officials are praising the team for risking their own lives to keep the infants alive during the earthquake.
Turkish Health Minister Dr. Fahrettin Koca shared the video on Twitter, where it quickly racked up millions of views.
Gaziantep İnayet Topçuoğlu Hastanesinde görevli arkadaşlarımız deprem anında canları pahasına hasta çocuklarımızı kurtardı. Bunun başka hastanelerimizde de çok örneği var. Daha ilk anda deprem illerine koşmaya başlayan insanlarımız da aynı şeyi yaptı. pic.twitter.com/4R7vsAH2y7
— Dr. Fahrettin Koca (@drfahrettinkoca) February 12, 2023
The nurses can be seen sprinting to the NICU as soon as the earthquake hit.
“Our friends at Gaziantep Inayet Topcuoglu Hospital saved our sick children at the cost of their lives during the earthquake,” Koca tweeted. “There are many examples of this in other hospitals as well. Our people who started running to the earthquake provinces at the very first moment did the same thing.”
Dr. Pamela Cipriano, president of the International Council of Nurses, praised the nurses for their heroism and quick-thinking skills. “Amid the tragedy, destruction and deaths caused by the devastating earthquakes in Turkey, it is not at all surprising to see the bravery of these nurses who ran towards their tiny patients,” she said. “Nurses’ instincts are to act swiftly to protect those under their care regardless of the circumstances.”
“Every day we see these selfless acts of courage and humanity that epitomize the spirit of nurses everywhere and illustrate the true value of nurses and nursing to the world,” Cipriano added. “On behalf of ICN and the world’s nurses I send my sincere condolences and best wishes to the people of Turkey and Syria, and to the nurses and other health and humanitarian workers who are doing so much to try to ease the burden of this enormous natural disaster.”
Officials say they are running out of time to locate additional survivors. Freezing weather and widespread devastation is hampering the search and rescue effort. Some 72 metric tons of emergency medical supplies have been delivered to both countries over the last week, according to the World Health Organization.
“These life-saving health supplies are critical for treating the wounded and providing urgent care to all those affected by this tragedy in both countries,” said WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Survivors are facing freezing conditions, continuing aftershocks and very limited access to shelter, food, water, heat and medical care. We’re in a race against time to save lives.”
Millions of people have been displaced and officials say the humanitarian crisis is only getting worse. “The needs are huge, increasing by the hour,” said Hans Henri P. Kluge, the World Health Organization’s director for Europe. “Some 26 million people across both countries need humanitarian assistance. There are also growing concerns over emerging health issues linked to the cold weather, hygiene and sanitation, and the spread of infectious diseases – with vulnerable people especially at risk.”