Dwarfed by his adult hospital bed, five-year-old Aras is resting on his back playing with a model car.
He is one of Turkey’s miracles.Rescue teams freed him from the rubble of his home in the now devastated city of Kahramanmaras, 105 hours after the earthquake.When he was brought into the intensive care unit, hypothermia had set in and his body temperature had dropped to 28 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit).Aras may have survived, but his seven-year-old sister Hiranur did not. Neither did his nine-year-old brother Alp. Nor his father.
Just one of so many families irrevocably broken by this disaster.Sitting at Aras’s bedside and gently ruffling his grandson’s dark hair Is Mehmet.”He’s an honest boy. He has a strong personality. He’s sincere. He’s not a spoilt boy.”Although now 72, Mehmet tells us he will for the rest of his days look after Aras as if he were his own son.”The rescuers did so well to save him,” he says, “and by God’s grace, they gave him back to us alive.”
Aras winces a little as the doctor changes the bandage on his swollen left foot. He’s making a good recovery.Aras’s mum also survived – but he hasn’t seen her since their world imploded. She is being treated at another hospital in the city but is expected to recover.