Girl lost in 2004 tsunami alive

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iol pic wld indonesia tsunami- AFP Two Indonesian tsunami survivors drive past collapsed houses in Banda Aceh in 2005. PIcture: Jewel Samad

Banda Aceh, Indonesia -

An Indonesian girl swept away in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami has been reunited with her parents 10 years after she was given up for dead, her mother said on Thursday.

Raudhatul Jannah was 4 when she and her brother were swept away by tsunami waters from her home in West Aceh district in Aceh province on December 26, 2004, Jamaliah, her mother, told dpa.

Jamaliah said she and her husband stopped searching after a month, and believed she was dead until Jamaliah's brother spotted a girl who looked like her long-lost daughter in June.

They later found that the girl had been under the care of an elderly woman in nearby Aceh Barat Daya district. The family were reunited on Wednesday.

“My husband and I are very happy we have found her,” Jamaliah said by telephone from Meulaboh, the main town in West Aceh. “This is a miracle from God.”

Jamaliah said she had no doubt that the girl was her daughter as soon as she saw her.

“If anyone is in doubt, I'm ready for DNA tests,” she said.

Jamaliah said after the tsunami hit her house, Raudhatul and her brother, then 7, slipped from her and her husband's grasp as they held on to a floating plank of wood.

Raudhatul, now 14, had told her parents that her brother was likely to have survived after the two were stranded on Banyak Island, her mother said.

“We will look for him on Banyak Island because we believe he is still alive,” she said. The sparsely inhabited island group is around 40 kilometres off the coast.

The Indian Ocean tsunami, triggered by a massive earthquake off Sumatra island, killed 230 000 people in 14 countries, including 170 000 in Aceh. - Sapa-dpa


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