Ten years after tsunami swept her away, Indonesian girl back with family

Indonesian swept away in 2004 found in what her mother hails as 'God giving a miracle'

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 August, 2014, 10:50pm
UPDATED : Friday, 08 August, 2014, 10:50pm


An Indonesian girl swept away by the devastating 2004 tsunami has been reunited with her family a decade after she was given up for dead, her mother said.

"God has given us a miracle," said Jamaliah, the mother of Raudhatul Jannah, who went missing when she was four years old.

Jannah and her brother, who was aged seven at the time, were carried off when huge waves hit the West Aceh district on December 26, 2004.

Jamaliah, 42, and her husband survived the earthquake-triggered tsunami that killed tens of thousands in Aceh, on western Sumatra, and had long ago given up hope of finding either child alive.

Then in June, Jamaliah's brother saw a girl in a village walking home from school who bore a striking resemblance to Jannah.

He found out that the girl had been caught up in the tsunami, and was swept from Aceh to some remote islands southwest of the province.

A fisherman rescued her, took her back to the mainland and handed her to his mother, who raised the youngster, according to Jamaliah.

After the tip-off from her brother, Jamaliah and her husband, who moved to the neighbouring province of North Sumatra following the tsunami, visited the girl, now aged 14, in late June and discovered it was indeed their daughter who went missing a decade earlier.

"My husband and I are very happy," Jamaliah said. "I am so grateful to God for reuniting us with our child after 10 years of being separated."

Jannah, who was called Wenni by the elderly woman who raised her, has now returned to her parents.

Her brother, Arif Pratama Rangkuti, also survived after being swept away to the same islands, Jamaliah said, but she added that his whereabouts were unknown.

The tsunami killed more than 170,000 people in Aceh, and tens of thousands more in other countries around the Indian Ocean.