A young girl swept away by the devastating 2004 tsunami has been found alive and has been reunited with her family in Indonesia.
The girl known as Wati, now 15, was swept away from her mother’s arms during the Dec. 26, 2004 tsunami.
Her mother, Yusniar, was trying to move her three children to safety when the 8-year-old girl slipped out of her arms and disappeared into the ravaging tsunami waters.
After seven years and countless hours of searching, Wati’s parents feared that their daughter was gone for good.
However, in a rare sequence of events, Wait’s parents were reunited with their daughter this past week.
Wati was discovered in a coffee shop near West Aceh, Indonesia. She told strangers at the coffee shop that she had come by bus from another region to find her way back home, a daunting task considering the girl had little information on her background and could only remember the name of her grandfather, Ibrahim.
A stranger from the coffee ship took Wati to meet a man named Ibrahim this past Wednesday. Ibrahim had a hunch that the girl was indeed his granddaughter and took her to be identified by her parents.
Wati’s biological mother Yusniar said that she did not need a DNA test to prove Wati is her long lost daughter.
“She has her father’s face,” Wati’s mother told AP.
“Then I saw the scar over her eye and mole on her hip, and I was even more sure,” she added.
Wati uttered similar sentiments.
“When I saw my mother, I knew it was her. I just knew it,” she said.
Wati said that in the years she was disconnected from her family she was discovered by a woman who adopted her and forced her to beg in the streets until the early hours of the morning.
The 2004 tsunami was prompted by a 9.1-9.3-magnitude earthquake in the Indian Ocean. The earthquake was one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded in history.
Hundreds of thousands of people in more than a dozen countries lost their lives in the devastation.