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Indonesian girl swept away by 2004 tsunami reunites with family

Raudhatul Jannah was just 4 years old when the catastrophic Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 swept into her Indonesian town and swept out with her in tow.

She had been holding onto her parents as they floated on a plank of wood when the tsunami hit her home, according to the news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur. But Raudhatul and her then 7-year-old brother, Arif Pratama Rangkuti, slipped from their father's grasp. The family never saw the two children again — until Wednesday, when Raudhatul, now 14, was reunited with her family.

"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 Jannah, Raudhatul's mother, said in an interview with Agence France-Presse.

Raudhatul had been swept onto a remote island, where she was found by a fisherman who returned her to the mainland. For the next 10 years, that fisherman's mother raised her, calling her Wenni, according to AFP.

Then one day in June, Raudhatul's uncle saw a young girl who looked like his missing niece. He asked around and learned that she had been found on Banyak Island after the tsunami.

"My husband and I are very happy we have found her," her mother told DPA. "This is a miracle from God."

The couple's other missing child would be about 17 now, and they believe that, like his sister, he may still be alive.

"We will look for him on Banyak Island, because we believe he is still alive," Jamaliah Jannah said, according to DPA.

If he did live, Raudhatul's older brother would be among the luckiest survivors. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami killed more than 275,000 people, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Indonesian girl swept away by 2004 tsunami reunites with family 08/09/14 [Last modified: Saturday, August 9, 2014 7:34pm]
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