Girl Lost in 2004 Tsunami Found Alive, Reunited with Parents

On December 26, 2004, a tsunami hit the home of Jamaliah Jannah in the West Aceh district of Indonesia. As the waves dragged everything and everyone out to sea, Jamaliah and her husband desperately clung to a floating plank of wood with their daughter, Raudhatul, and one son — ages four and seven, respectively.

Sadly, the current was too much, and the two children slipped from their parent’s grasps to be washed away.

Jamaliah and her husband searched everywhere for their missing children, but after a month they gave up, believing them to have perished along with the 230,000 other victims.

Now ten years later, Raudhatul was found alive! The girl was being cared for by an elderly woman in nearby Aceh Barat Daya district. According to SkyNews:

[Raudhatul’s] return came after her uncle spotted a girl walking home from school who bore a striking resemblance to his niece.

After making inquiries, he discovered the girl had been caught up in the tsunami and was swept away from Aceh to remote islands south-west of the province.

It was there that Jannah was rescued by a fisherman and taken to the mainland, where she was raised by the fisherman’s mother.

Jamaliah and her husband then visited the girl in June and discovered she was indeed their daughter, who is now aged 14.

2004 Boxing Day Tsunami
An aerial view shows the devastation around Baiturrahim mosque in Meulaboh town after the tsunami. Photo: Reuters

“My husband and I are very happy we have found her,” Jamaliah said. “This is a miracle from God.” And to those who think there may be some trickery involved, Jamaliah says, “If anyone is in doubt, I’m ready for DNA tests.”

Adding to the good news, Raudhatul told her parents that her brother was likely to have survived after the two were stranded on Banyak Island.

“We will look for him on Banyak Island because we believe he is still alive,” her mother said.

Main image: The Sydney Morning Herald