Indonesian Girl, Thought Dead in '04 Tsunami, Finds Her Way Back Home


It is a Christmas miracle seven years in the making, all the more poignant too when you consider it was born out of the devastating 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

The Indonesian news agency, Antara, reported this week a that young girl named Wati, long thought lost and dead in the aftermath of the tsunami, found her way back home to her family.

Wati, now teenager, was only 8 years old when a wall of water crashed through and erased her village of Ujong Baroh in Aceh - one of the hardest hit provinces in Indonesia.

The 8 year-old was clinging with her two siblings to their mother Yusinar as they tried to escape the unforgiving waters.  The force of the waves proved too strong and Wati was ripped from her family, consumed by the water, never to been seen again.

Until this week.

According to Antara, Wati's grandfather Ibrahim was visited by a friend on Wednesday in the city of Meulaboh with a teenager in tow. Initially mistaken for beggar, the teen was found sitting alone in a coffee bar. When approached said that she had arrived by bus from the provincial capital of Banda Aceh.  She was trying to find her way home but did not know how.  The teen had lost all memory of her parents' and relatives' names but could remember her grandfather's name was Ibrahim.

Ibrahim reportedly was convinced that this teen was indeed his long-lost granddaughter Wati and immediately called Yusinar and her husband over to his home.

Wati's parents were able to confirm her identify by distinguishing features: a small mole and a scar she got above her eyebrow when she was 6 years old.

What happened to Wati and where she has been in the years since she was swept away was not immediately disclosed to press but for her family, Wati's return was sure to have been a long awaited happy ending to seven years of grief.

The deadly 2004 tsunami, triggered by an 8.9-magnitude earthquake in the Indian Ocean and killed more than 150,000 people in Southeast and South Asia.