Amid the horror and devastation of the earthquake and tsunami in Central Sulawesi, there was joy for one mother as she managed to get to safety to give birth to triplets.
Atina, a 31-year-old midwife from Sigi Regency, located immediately south of the Central Sulawesi capital of Palu, gave birth to three babies — one boy and two girls — in the South Sulawesi capital of Makassar at around 7pm last night while chaos and devastation still reigned in her hometown.
But her journey to Makassar was far from easy.
According to Atina’s husband Zaenal, his wife was scheduled to give birth on Sunday, but the magnitude-7.5 earthquake and tsunami struck on Friday. Immediately after the disaster, he tried and failed to have Atina admitted to four hospitals in Sigi, none of which were able to take her.
Zaenal was then informed that the military was airlifting civilians in need of medical attention to Makassar. He dropped off their small children, aged four and seven, at a relative’s house and headed to the Mutiara SIS Al-Jufrie Airport in Palu.
“We went back and forth from the waiting room to the Hercules aircraft four times. That fourth time we finally got a place in the plane to take us to Makassar. We arrived Monday at around 2:30pm. After arriving at Makassar’s airport, we were taken on an ambulance to Daya Regional Hospital for delivery. Praise God, my triplets were born at around 7:13pm,” Zaenal told Kompas.
Daya Hospital Deputy Director Juliani Jafar said that due to a minor complication, Atina had to undergo a C-section to deliver her triplets.
“The mother and her triplets are in good health. The three babies are now in incubators at the NICU while the mother is in the process of recovery post-delivery,” she said.
Juliani added that two other mothers evacuated from Central Sulawesi gave birth at the hospital over the weekend, all of whom are also in good health.
The cities of Palu and Donggala in Central Sulawesi, as well as the surrounding areas, were devastated by both a massive 7.5 earthquake and a 3-meter tall tsunami that struck on Friday. The latest official death toll is 925 but that number is expected to rise significantly.
If you’d like to help the victims of the disaster, you can make donations through this list of trustworthy charities.