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Mother Clings to Hope for Child Lost in Tsunami


Yunairiati shows her daughters photo

Banda Aceh. Having survived being beaten by a mob who mistook her for a kidnapper last December, an Acehnese woman who lost her daughter in the Indian Ocean tsunami finally feels she has reason to be hopeful.

Yunairiati, 43, said on Thursday that the parents of the child she believes is her missing daughter have agreed to a DNA test.
Yunairiati last saw her daughter, Anantika Salwa, just before the Dec. 26, 2004 tsunami, which claimed the lives of Yunairiati’s husband and two other children.
She said she began searching for her daughter in December after her mother had a recurring dream in which Salwa appeared and said she had been taken by a family in Langsa. Yunairiati, accompanied by her friend, Syafirah, went from school to school in Langsa searching for the child.
“When I lost Salwa she was six years old,” she said. “I went to every junior high school in Langsa, and showed her photo to teachers and principals, asking them if there was anybody in their school who looks like Salwa.”
At Gempong Kuala elementary school, staff said there was a sixth-grade student named Febi Gebriana who looked a lot like Yunairiati’s missing daughter.
“Febi and Salwa have distinguishing beauty spots on the right side of the nose,” Yunairiati said. “Febi also had the same curly hair as Salwa.”
When Yunairiati returned to the school the next day, a crowd had gathered outside the school. Whispers spread that Yunairiati wanted to abduct the 12-year-old. Present in the crowd was Febi’s mother Ainul Mardhiah.
“When I showed Ainul the photo, she agreed that they looked similar,” Yunairiati said. “I told her that if it turned out that Febi was indeed her child and not mine, I would apologize.
“I don’t remember clearly what happened next. Syarifah and I were mobbed and severely beaten and we ended up at Langsa Hospital for two weeks.”
After being discharged from the hospital, Yunairiati filed a report with the Langsa Police.
“I demanded a DNA test, and asked police to forward my request to Febi’s parents,” she said.
Earlier this month, Yunairiati received the news that she had been waiting for — Febi’s parents had agreed to the test.
“If Febi is my daughter, they have agreed to sit down and have a family discussion with me. If not, they said, I was never to bother them again.”
Yunairiati is now focusing her efforts on raising money to get the test performed.
“I will do my best to raise the money. I am 95 percent sure Febi is my child.”[]
Mother Clings to Hope for Child Lost in Tsunami Mother Clings to Hope for Child Lost in Tsunami Reviewed by Nurdin Hasan on February 16, 2011 Rating: 5

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