UK & World News

  • 8 August 2014, 12:53

Tsunami 'Dead' Girl Finds Family 10 Years On

A girl given up for dead after the 2004 tsunami has been returned to her family almost 10 years after being swept away by surging waters.

Ranudhatul Jannah was four years old when huge waves struck her family's home in West Aceh, Indonesia, on December 26, 2004.

She and her seven-year-old brother were carried off by the waves, and after a month-long search her parents gave up hope of ever finding the children alive.

But the girl's mother Jamaliah has now described her joy at the "miracle" return of her daughter.

"God has given us a miracle,"Jamaliah said.

"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."

Jannah'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.

"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 said.

In 2011, another Indonesian girl washed away by the tsunami was reunited with her parents seven years after the natural disaster.

The 15-year-old said she was adopted by a woman shortly after the wave hit, and was forced to beg on the streets during her time away from her family.

The tsunami on Boxing Day in 2004 killed 230,000 people across a dozen nations and caused billions of pounds worth of damage.

It hit the province of Aceh, closest to the epicentre of the magnitude 9.1 quake that created waves 30 feet (10m) high, the hardest. More than 170,000 people were killed in Aceh.

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