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Aceh Couple Find Missing Tsunami Child

BY NURDIN HASAN [THE JAKARTA GLOBE]

Banda Aceh, TAG – A couple believes a girl to be their daughter, whom they say was lost in the tsunami that struck Aceh province 10 years ago.

Jamaliah, 42, and Septi Rangkuti, 52, lost their daughter during the tsunami disaster in December 2004. Raudhatul Jannah, the daughter — who now goes by the name Wenni — was swept away by waves when the tsunami hit their village in West Aceh’s Johan Pahlawan subdistrict.

“My husband and I are very happy. It’s a miracle from God. We are grateful that God has reunited me with my daughter after 10 years,” Jamaliah said.

Jamaliah said she ran with her oldest son while her husband ran with their other two children. “The waves swept in and my husband put Raudhatul Jannah and her big brother Arif Pratama Rangkuti — who were 4 and 7 respectively — on a big wooden board,” she told the Jakarta Globe.

After the waves receded, the couple tried to seek their two youngest children, but failed to find any trace of them. After a month of searching, the couple and their oldest son decided to move to Padang Sidempuan, North Sumatra. Jamaliah and Septi’s other son is still missing.
Jamaliah said the children were swept away to Banyak Island in Singkil district, where Bustamil, a fisherman in Southwest Aceh, found Raudhatul. He then took her to his home where he and his mother raised her and changed her name to Wenni.

“Based on Raudhatul’s testimony, her brother also survived the waves and was stranded in Banyak Island, but they were separated when another man took him away,” Jamaliah said.
She plans to go to the island to seek out her son.

“We’ll go there soon to find Arif Pratama. My instinct tells me he’s still alive, especially after his sister said that they both survived,” Jamaliah said.

Four days before the start of Ramadan, Jamaliah received a phone call from her brother, Zainuddin, who claimed to have seen a girl resembling her. Zainuddin lives in Blang Pidie, Southwest Aceh.

“The girl’s face resembles mine. My brother was curious and investigated. Then, according to the woman who raised Wenni, she was an orphan from the tsunami,” Jamaliah said. 

Zainuddin was sure that the girl was Jamaliah’s daughter who was lost during the tsunami and called Jamaliah to come to the island.

On June 28, the couple went to visit the woman, who has raised Wenni for the past 10 years, in Pulo Kayu village in Southwest Aceh’s Susoh district.

“When I saw her, my heart was beating really fast. At that moment, I believed the girl was Raudhatul, my long-lost daughter,” she said. “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.”

The Jakarta Globe asked Jamaliah whether she had concrete evidence of Wenni being her daughter, but she said that the “connection” was the only thing that stood as evidence for now. She added that Wenni remembered the name of her still missing youngest son.

Jamaliah claimed that they are ready to go to the police and conduct a DNA test if needed.

Jamaliah initially wanted to bring her daughter back immediately but Maryam, the woman who raised Wenni, declined and asked that the girl should stay with her during the fasting month of Ramadan.

“They could not say no, but they asked for her to only be taken after Idul Fitri. They are happy that Raudhatul found her supposed birth family. We are now like family with Raudhatul’s foster family,” Jamaliah said.

Raudhatul’s father fetched her on Wednesday to join reunite her with her birth family in West Aceh.[]
Aceh Couple Find Missing Tsunami Child Aceh Couple Find Missing Tsunami Child Reviewed by Nurdin Hasan on August 09, 2014 Rating: 5

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