Girl Swept Away In Indonesian Tsunami Shows Up Seven Years Later
A little girl presumed dead when she was swept away from her mother’s arms during the 2004 Indonesia tsunami has found her way home seven years after the natural disaster that killed an estimated 230,000 people. According to Indonesian state news agency Antara, Wati was just eight years old when the tsunami hit her family’s village of Ujong Baroh.
Her mother, Yusniar, was trying to take her and her two siblings to a safe place but somehow she lost her grip on her mother’s arm and was carried away by the rushing waters, leaving her mother powerless to help her.
Yusniar was able to save her two other children but she and the rest of the family eventually had to resign themselves to the notion that Wati was lost as she never returned nor had anybody in the neighborhood seen her again dead or alive.
But Wati, now 15 years old, has reunited with her family. On Wednesday, she was sitting in a coffee shop near her home in West Aceh, Indonesia. According to Antara, people assumed she was a beggar, and the young woman explained that she had just come there by bus and was trying to find her way back home but without much luck.
Because she was just a little girl at the time, Wati could not remember her parents’ or relatives’ names except for Ibrahim. Next thing you know, one of the coffee shop patrons brought Wati over to Ibrahim’s house and, well, turns out Ibrahim is Wati’s grandfather
“Ibrahim immediately sensed the girl could be his long-lost grandchild and, after a closer look at the dark-skinned girl, was indeed convinced she was Wati, who went missing in the tsunami seven years ago,” reports Antara.
Wati’s parents Yusinar and Yusuf came rushing over to Ibrahim’s house and confirmed the girl’s identity after recognizing a small mole and a scar over her eyebrow that she got at age six.
I cannot even imagine what that reunion must’ve been like. Really, there are no words. First, that Wati even survived such a powerful force of nature and second, that she managed to maker her way back home all these years later (keep in mind that the tsunami wiped out entire villages). It is just so unbelievable. And mind-blowing!
At this stage, nobody knows what exactly happened to Wati after she was carried away by the tsunami other than she had been in several areas throughout Indonesia’s Aceh province. It’ll be interesting to hear some of the details if and when they’re revealed but, for now, I’m reveling in this miracle.