Riyaz ul Khaliq

Aided by their paramedic brother, Atoumi sisters bring joy to women, child patients in southern Hatay province after powerful earthquakes.

Two physician sisters and their paramedic brother from Libya helped the delivery of three babies in the aftermath of the deadly earthquakes that struck Türkiye two weeks ago.

All of them were normal deliveries,” Karima Atoumi, a medical doctor and part of a 105-member Libyan mission to quake-hit Türkiye, told Anadolu.

Her sister and doctor colleague, Reema Atoumi, chipped in: “There were a few abortions as well.”

Nearly 6,500 babies have been born in southern Türkiye since powerful twin earthquakes shook the region on Feb. 6, according to data released by the Turkish Health Ministry on Saturday.

Every child born is a hope,” Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said over the weekend at the coordination center of the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) in the southern province of Hatay.

Muhammad Atoumi, brother of Atoumi doctors, has been assisting the sister duo at a field camp in Hatay since they landed in Türkiye on the night of Feb. 7, a day after back-to-back quakes of 7.7 and 7.6 magnitude hit the country, damaging 11 provinces.

At least 41,020 people were killed and thousands of others injured by two strong earthquakes in Türkiye.

Over 9,000 international search and rescue personnel, including those from Libya, flew to Türkiye in the wake of the devastating tremors.

The Libyan team included staff from the country’s Emergency Medicine and Support Center (EMSC), Libyan Military Medical Corps, detectives and search and rescue personnel, said Dr. Abdul Malek Marset, the mission’s spokesman. They also brought four professionally trained sniffer dogs with them.

Graduate of Tripoli University, Karima Atoumi told Anadolu that the doctor team and their paramedical staff mostly catered gynae and child patients. We conducted ultrasonography tests as well while there are problems of cold and dehydration,” she said in Arabic, as K9 sniffer dogs momentarily interrupted the conversations with high-pitch barking.

Serving the EMSC since 2018, Muhammad Atoumi said he also served in field hospitals during war while his sisters were posted to Tripoli Medical Center. Stay safe and strong Türkiye,” Atoumi siblings said as the team left for Tripoli from southern Türkiye’s Adana airport on Monday.

Dubbed as the worst earthquakes of 21st century, the twin tremors were centered in Kahramanmaras and struck 10 other provinces – Hatay, Gaziantep, Adiyaman, Malatya, Adana, Diyarbakir, Kilis, Osmaniye, Sanliurfa, and Elazig. More than 13 million people have been affected by the devastating quakes.

Several countries in the region, including Syria and Lebanon, also felt the tremors that struck in less than 10 hours.

Türkiye issued a level-4 alert, calling in international aid. More than 249,000 search and rescue personnel are currently working in the field, according to AFAD. Around 100 countries have offered assistance so far, with many having sent rescue teams.


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