Despite international search and rescue teams looking for earthquake survivors, it was Manhal Tarraf, 40, who was first to dig out his wife and one-year-old daughter from under the rubble.
Mr Tarraf was at the shop where he works on the morning of February 6.His wife, Rawan Al Essa, survived the earthquake but their only daughter, Maryam, did not.“I was asleep with my daughter in my arms and sister by my side on the bed when the earthquake happened and when I opened my eyes, my daughter was dead in my arms and my sister was dead by my side,” Ms Al Essa said from her hospital bed at Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC).Ms Al Essa, 30, suffered from crush syndrome as well as kidney failure and had blood in her lungs.
She was flown along with nine others for treatment in the UAE, where doctors now expect her to be well enough to be discharged by as early as next week.Five adult patients were taken to SSMC, while five children aged nine, 10, 12, 14 and 16 were transferred to Sheikh Khalifa Medical City.
Some of them were not so lucky, such as two who have traumatic brain injuries and a mother who lost all four her children and is now paralysed from the waist down.
The patients were transported last week on a special evacuation flight which included doctors, anaesthesiologists, technicians and paramedics, as well as the latest medical equipment.
The mission was carried out by Emirates Crescent, the humanitarian arm of the UAE government, in partnership with the Syrian Ministry of Health, under the directive of Sheikha Fatima, Mother of the Nation.