The Miracle Babies

The Miracle Babies

After an 8.0 magnitude earthquake hit Mexico City in 1985, a great majority newborn babies survived a collapsed hospital.

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The world came to know them as the "miracle babies" of Mexico City, more than a dozen infants pulled from rubble after the devastating 1985 earthquake. With more than 10,000 dead, the newborns — some not rescued until days after the quake — gave hope to a shocked nation.

The still-unfolding stories of dramatic rescues in Haiti — of life emerging from the ruins — bring back vivid memories of Mexico City a quarter-century ago. The infants embodied a stubborn determination to hold on to life, a symbol of human resiliency amid disaster.

Some babies escaped physically unscathed by the quake, while others would grapple with lifelong disabilities. Many, their mothers killed by the collapsing buildings, were taken in by aunts, uncles, and grandparents.

A team of doctors, nurses, and social workers has cared for them all these years. Foreign donors provided funds to pay for their medical care and even their education. Their caregivers say many have come to lead successful lives, while others have struggled.

Despite their traumas and injuries, the children of the earthquake appear to be fairly typical young men and women: Some are day laborers, another a pharmacist at the hospital where she was taken as a near-dead infant. Some are unemployed. All came from humble beginnings.

"As babies, how did we survive all we did? The rocks, the lack of water?" asks Victor Hugo Hernandez, who was born two days before the quake and later had both legs amputated. "It was a great miracle."

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