This girl was swept away in a tsunami 10 years ago. Now, she is reunited with her family.


Jamaliah Jannah, left, gives a hug to daughter Raudhatul Jannah on Thursday after being reunited in Meulaboh, Aceh, northern Sumatra, Indonesia. (EPA/Achwa Nussa)

Raudhatul Jannah was just 4 years old when the catastrophic tsunami 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 Deutsche Presse-Agentur International. 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,” said Jamaliah Jannah, Raudhatul’s mother, in an interview with Agence France-Presse. 

Young Raudhatul had been swept onto a remote island, when she was found by a fisherman who returned her to the mainland. For the next 10 years, that fisherman’s mother raised her by the name of 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 years old 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. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami killed more than 275,000 people according to the U.S. Geological Survey, making it the deadliest tsunami since the Renaissance Age.


Raudhatul, now 14, speaks on the phone after being reunited with her family in Indonesia. (EPA/Achwa Nussa)

Jamaliah Jannah displays a picture taken before the 2004 tsunami of her two missing children, daughter Raudhatul Jannah and son Arif Pratama Rangkuti. (Chaideer Mahyuddin/AFP/Getty Images)

Raudhatul, her mother, Jamaliah Jannah, left, and her father, Septi Rangkut. (EPA/Hotli Simanjuntak)
Abby Phillip is a general assignment national reporter for the Washington Post. She can be reached at abby.phillip@washpost.com. On Twitter: @abbydphillip
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