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China

Chinese City Flooded With Abandoned Kids, Shuts Down 'Baby Hatch'

An orphanage in this southeastern city received more abandoned babies in a pilot "safe haven" program than anywhere else in the country.

A baby hatch in Xi'an, China
A baby hatch in Xi'an, China

GUANGZHOU — Because of overwhelming demand, this city in southeast China has suspended its “baby hatch” project that had offered safe places to leave abandoned babies.

Due to the growing number of abandoned babies in the country, Chinese authorities launched the so-called Baby Safety Island pilot projects in 25 cities last year in the hopes of protecting this most vulnerable group of infants’ right to life,Xinhua News reported.

Because of China's inadequate health care system, many poor families choose to abandon their babies who suffer from an "incurable disease or are likely to be permanently disabled for life,” Nanjing's orphanage director Zu Hong told the Modern Express.

Unfortunately within just 45 days of the project, the Social Welfare Home in Guangzhou received an overwhelming 262 babies. The orphanage stated that: “We have exceeded our limit of taking in abandoned babies. We are to stabilise the situation and undertake disease prevention and relocation work for these babies first.” The home did not specify when it will reopen the baby hatch again.

According to Xu Jiuo, the director of the home, the orphanage had received more newborns than any other city in the country that provides the baby hatch arrangement. He also added that thanks to the timely care of these babies, currently their survival rate in Guangzhou has risen to 91%.

Out of the 262 babies, 148 of them are boys and 114 are girls. 67% of the abandoned infants are under one-year-old.

After preliminary examinations these abandoned children were found to all be affected by disorders, the top three of which are cerebral palsy (110), Down's syndrome (39), and congenital heart disease (32).

An official report released in 2010 estimated that there were about 100,000 Chinese infants abandoned each year for various reasons, according to theSound of Hope.

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