News / Asia

Indonesian Parents Reunite with Children Lost in Tsunami

Jamaliah (L) kisses her daughter Raudhatul Jannah, 14, as the girl's father Septi Rangkuti and grandmother Sarwani look on following prayers at Baiturrahman mosque in Banda Aceh, Aug. 8, 2014.Jamaliah (L) kisses her daughter Raudhatul Jannah, 14, as the girl's father Septi Rangkuti and grandmother Sarwani look on following prayers at Baiturrahman mosque in Banda Aceh, Aug. 8, 2014.
x
Jamaliah (L) kisses her daughter Raudhatul Jannah, 14, as the girl's father Septi Rangkuti and grandmother Sarwani look on following prayers at Baiturrahman mosque in Banda Aceh, Aug. 8, 2014.
Jamaliah (L) kisses her daughter Raudhatul Jannah, 14, as the girl's father Septi Rangkuti and grandmother Sarwani look on following prayers at Baiturrahman mosque in Banda Aceh, Aug. 8, 2014.
Kate Lamb

Almost a decade after a devastating tsunami hit the coast of Banda Aceh, Indonesia, one family believes they have been reunited with two of their children who have been missing since the disaster struck. 

Raudhatul Jannah was just four when she and her brother were swept away by the tsunami that struck on December 26, 2004.

Until earlier this month when an uncle recognized the now teenager because of her striking family resemblance, Raudhatul’s parents had long feared that she was dead.  
 
That fortuitous reunion now appears to have led to a second, seemingly miraculous discovery. Following the media coverage of the reunion, the family now claims they have also been reunited with their son, Arif Pratama Rangkuti, who has also been missing since the tsunami.
 
Miraculous recovery

The 17-year-old boy was spotted in a neighboring province by an Indonesian woman after a photograph of him was broadcast on television. Arif had reportedly been living on the streets and had occasionally slept outside the woman’s Internet café.
 
Simon Field, a former advisor to the United Nations’ Development Program spent years in Aceh post tsunami.   Field says he is surprised by the news given the efforts to map communities following the disaster.
 
“I would have thought that there would have been a process in which people were identified because there was lots of activity to identify people in very diverse situations and when people weren't part of family networks and communities, so it is just surprising that it is all happening now," he said. "I find it very strange and amazing after all the effort and resources, but then again in those first few days things were just very chaotic.”
 
Triggered by a mammoth 9.1-magnitude earthquake, across Aceh province the tsunami flattened entire communities and claimed the lives of more than 170,000 people.
 
The demographics of Aceh were turned upside down, particularly as many of the victims were women and children.
 
Reconstruction

Backed by $655 million in international aid, the reconstruction process included extensive efforts to map communities.
 
Programs to register families on government databases and to identify orphans to ensure they received their entitlement to land, was a significant part of this process.
 
The extraordinary cases of reunification this month, says Simon Field, might have slipped through the cracks because of geographic isolation.
 
He says it is unlikely there will be many more similar cases.
 
“If the woman and the child was growing up in an isolated community that could explain a lot, they could have missed out on a lot, but I don't know that there will be that many more coming [cases] out of the woodwork,” he said.
 
The brother and sister were reportedly picked up by an Indonesian fisherman after the tsunami and taken to Banyak Islands, some 40 kilometers off the mainland, before later returning to Aceh.
 
The parents, who have described the reunions as a miracle, stopped searching for their children a month after the tsunami struck.
 

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs