AMID THE CHAOS and tragedy in the aftermath of the Mexico City earthquake this week, there have been reassuring events, hopeful signs and a few shining moments when joy and relief have overshadowed all the grief. Rescue work had been carried on day and night by Mexican and foreign volunteers, some -- such as opera star Placido Domingo -- searching for members of their own families, others just there in response to urgent need. There have been scenes of personal courage and staggering, backbreaking hard work, and there has been effective and fast international cooperation. But none of this has equalled, in terms of sheer emotional impact, the survival and rescue of the infants.

The newborn children were rescued from the rubble of two hospitals. One child, found in an incubator after 55 hours, had apparently been born just before the earthquake struck. Others, buried many days, have been found during the course of the week, lifting the spirits of exhausted rescue workers and the watching world. Doctors are not really certain why infants only days old have been able to survive such trauma. Perhaps the explanation is as simple as the extra fluids and nourishment stored in the body of a newborn or the relative similarity between temporary burial and the fetal condition. Perhaps these few survived because of a complex combination of genes, natural attributes of stamina and determination, and simple luck that are found in all life's winners.

There is no need to devise scientific explanations for the childrens' great good fortune. It is enough to celebrate their lives in the midst of so much mourning. They are a symbol to their grieving countrymen of hope and rebirth.