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8-Year-Old Girl Believed to Be Swept Away After 2004 Tsunami Turns Up Alive

By Monica Bielanko |

Girl believed to be swept away in 2004 Tsunami returns home alive.

Talk about Christmas miracles.  This one is for real.

An 8-year-old girl who was swept out of her mother’s arms during the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia that killed thousands has turned up alive.

The little girl’s mother, Yusniar was trying to take her daughter, Wati, and two siblings to higher ground, but the child somehow lost her grip on her mother’s arm and was swept away when the tsunami engulfed Ujong Baroh, in West Aceh, the day after Christmas in 2004.

Everyone assumed Wati had died, since no trace could be found of her. Until Wednesday, when the now 15-year-old appeared in a nearby city and explained to the staff at a cafe that she was trying to find her way home.  The staff originally thought the teen was a beggar but quickly realized otherwise:

As the NY Post reports:

Wati could remember only one relative’s name, her grandfather Ibrahim.  She was taken to his house, where she was quickly identified as his missing granddaughter.  He sent for the girl’s mother Yusniar and father Yusuf, who recognized their daughter from a small scar above her eyebrow that she got when she was six years old.

Wati returned home almost seven years to the day after she disappeared.  No details have been released as to where she’s been the entire time other than “over the years she had been to places in other districts in Aceh province.”

Unbelievable.  Can you even fathom thinking your daughter has been dead for seven years only to have a 15-year-old young lady return to your home?  Christmas miracle, indeed.

Additional source: Antara News

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About Monica Bielanko


Monica Bielanko

Monica Bielanko was raised on the wild frontier of late 1970's Utah. She is a recovering Mormon who married the guitar player of an unknown band. She's been married to her Babble Voices writing partner, Serge Bielanko, for the past nine years. Her personal blog, The Girl Who was in the top ten of last year's Top 50 list. Read bio and latest posts → Read Monica's latest posts →

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6 thoughts on “8-Year-Old Girl Believed to Be Swept Away After 2004 Tsunami Turns Up Alive

  1. Calla says:

    While this is indisputably a wonderful occurrence, it is, I think, reductive and tad ethnocentric to cite it as a “Christmas miracle,” since Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim majority country. It seems doubtful that Christmas is anywhere on the agenda of this girl or her family.

  2. Sanriobaby =^.^= says:

    Yeah I have to agree, this really shouldn’t be labeled as a “Christmas Miricle” simply b/c this family might not be Christian. With that said, I’ve heard of other stories of kids being “reunited” to only find out that they weren’t really related to the family, so I hope for this family’s sake that there was some type of medical proof that she is really thier daughter. If she’s indeed thier long lost daughter, then it’s a dream come true for her parents and more than what they could have ever asked for. That’s a true blessing and miricle!!!

  3. Gib says:

    Umm, so what matters about whether it’s a Christmas Miracle is the religion of the family? That addresses only the first half! What about whether or not it’s a “miracle”?

    Hundreds of thousands died that day, and one girl finding her way home is a miracle? What does that make everyone else? Collateral damage?

  4. Meredith says:

    Christmas miracle in deed! I love heart warming stories like this. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Emma says:

    It’s a blog, people, not CNN. I’m almost entirely sure that the author is not actually saying that…you know what, yes, it is a genuine CHRISTmas miracle and this girl is clearly an unordained saint. Hallelujah!

  6. Betty Brown says:

    What a great thing to happen, tears in my eyes, my jaw dropped to the floor. A miracle for Christmas.

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