A Girl Swept Away By the Tsunami In 2004 Gets Reunited With Her Family 10 Years Later

The tsunami that struck Indonesia in 2004 was one of the mostly devastating and deadly natural disasters in modern history.

On the 26th of December, 2004, an underwater earthquake near the island of Sumatra triggered a number of massive tsunami waves, some up to 100 feet tall.

The tsunamis killed more than 230,000 people in 14 countries, and left another 1.7 million people displaced.

One of those displaced was 4-year old Raudhatul Jannah, who was swept away along with her 7-year old brother when the tsunami hit her hometown of Banda Aceh, which was right next to the epicenter of the quake.

A before and after photo of Banda Aceh shows some of the devastation caused by the tsunami. Click to enlarge

After 10 years, Jannah’s parents had long given up hope of finding their children alive. More than 170,000 people from their hometown of Banda Aceh had been killed in the tsunami, and they assumed that their children were amongst the dead.

But in June, Jannah’s uncle (her mother’s brother) spotted a young teenage girl walking home from school who had a striking resemblance to his long lost niece.

He decided to investigate, and discovered that the girl had been swept away from Banda Aceh to some remote islands to the southwest. She was rescued by a fisherman who raised her as his own.

A map showing where the tsunamis began and how far out they reached. The city of Banda Aceh is right at the epicenter

Jannah’s uncle told her mother what he had found, and a reunion was quickly set up between Jannah and her parents. Her mother, Jamaliah, describes what it felt life to reunite with her daughter after 10 long years:

“My husband and I are very happy…I am so grateful to God for reuniting us with our child after 10 years of being separated…

My heart beat so fast when I saw her. I hugged her and she hugged me back and felt so comfortable in my arms,”

Jamaliah told the AFP in a recent interview.

Jamaliah (left) embraces her daughter after seeing her for the first time in 10 years. Click to enlarge

She also added that Jannah’s brother (the 7-year old who was swept away with her) also survived, though his current whereabouts are unknown.

Read more from the Telegraph here.

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