A 4-year-old girl was swept away to sea by the massive waves of the most fearsome tsunami in modern times back in 2004, when the deadly tsunami hit Indonesia. The “Christmas tsunami,” which struck the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004, killed a staggering 230,000 people, making it one of the worst natural disasters ever on record.
But is it possible that the death toll can now be reduced by one, because that helpless little 4-year-old is actually alive?
That is exactly what the parents of now-14-year-old Raudhatul Jannah say is true. And they say the only explanation is a miracle.
“My husband and I are very happy. It’s a miracle from God,” said Jamaliah Rangkuti, 42, mom of the once-missing girl who was swallowed up by the tsunami along with her 7-year-old brother on that terrible day a decade ago. “We are grateful that God has reunited me with my daughter after 10 years.”
The Chirstmas Tsunami — more technically referred to as the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami — was set off by a mind-boggling 9.3 magnitude earthquake, the third-largest quake ever measured. The epicenter was not far from Indonesia’s Aceh Province, where the family had their home.
When the skyscraper-size waves hit, the entire clan ran as far away as they could, but the waves overtook them. Before they did, dad Septi Rangkuti put the youngest two of his three children on a wooden board, in hopes that they could stay afloat until the waves died down. But they were swept away.
But about a month ago, Jamaliah who know lives with her husband and their older, surviving son in North Sumatra, got a call from her brother. He said he had seen a teenage girl in Aceh who strongly resembled what they imagined the girl to have looked like had she grown up.
“When I saw her, my heart was beating really fast. At that moment, I believed the girl was Raudhatul, my long-lost daughter,” said the mom. “Maybe because there was a strong connection, when I hugged her, she hugged me back and felt very comfortable in my embrace. We couldn’t hold back our tears.”
Now renamed Wenni by the woman who raised her since 2004, Raudhatul Jannah told her long-lost parents that her brother had also survived the tsunami, but was picked up by another man. The family is now renewing the search for him.
Jamaliah hopes to get a DNA test to confirm that the girl really is her daughter, but she has no doubt, saying she trusts her maternal “connection” with the girl.
Also, “Wenni” remembered the name of her brother who was swept away with her in the tsunami.