Tsunami Girl Found
December 23, 2011 by staff
Tsunami Girl Found, An Indonesian girl separated from her family during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami has been reunited with her relatives after seven years living as a street child, her parents said Friday.
Mary Yuranda, who is now 14, showed up at a cafe in the city of Meulaboh, in the tsunami-battered Aceh province, looking for her parents.
She was reunited with them on Wednesday after a local taxi driver identified her family from details she had provided, ending a seven-year ordeal in which she lived with a widow who forced to beg on the streets.
“When she saw her mother she yelled ‘mama’ and ran toward her,” her father, Tarmius, told AFP by telephone.
“Both of them hugged each other and cried,” he said.
Mary’s mother, Yusnidar, said her daughter had grown so much that she had not immediately recognized the girl.
“The birth marks on her belly, plus a mole and a scar on her face proved that the little girl was mine,” said Yusnidar, 35.
“I cannot tell you how grateful I am,” she added.
The parents, who said the girl did not want to speak to reporters and was recovering from frequent beatings by the widow, said Mary separated from them after the family was swept away during the the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.
The widow found the lost girl and took her to the provincial capital Banda Aceh, renamed her ‘Herawati’ and made her work as a beggar, handing out frequent beatings to keep the girl obedient.
Last Tuesday, Mary refused to beg any longer, enraging the widow who put here on a bus to Meulaboh.
The area was among the hardest hit during the disaster, and Mary’s father recalled how the family were torn apart by the massive waves.
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