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

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid