Miracle as Aceh Tsunami Girl Comes Home After 7 Years – dal The Jakarta Globe 24/12/2011
Banda Aceh. A girl who was ripped from her father’s arms by the tsunami that devastated Aceh in 2004 was reunited with her family on Wednesday in Meulaboh, West Aceh. Seven years after being separated from her family and after years of being forced to work as a beggar in the provincial capital, Banda Aceh, 14-year-old Mary Yuranda got on a bus and tracked down her stunned family. Mary reportedly disembarked at the Meulaboh bus station after the six-hour trip from the capital. The girl, wearing a blue headscarf, was sitting outside a coffee shop near the bus station looking dejected when a pedicab driver spotted her and struck up a conversation. Mary told the driver that her family lived in Ujong Baroh village but that she did not know how to get there. The man took her to the village hall, where officials summoned a man by the name of Ibrahim, who the girl said was her grandfather.
Ibrahim initially had doubts that the short-haired teenager before him was the same little girl the family had given up for dead after the tsunami that destroyed much of Meulaboh.“Her face was not as I remembered it seven years ago,” Ibrahim said. He summoned Mary’s father, Tarmiyus, 42, who also could not be certain of the girl’s identity. It wasn’t until Mary’s mother, Yusnidar, 35, arrived at the scene that all doubt vanished. “Mary ran and threw herself into her mother’s arms, shouting ‘Mother,’ and they both started crying,” Ibrahim said. A birthmark on Mary’s abdomen and a scar on her forehead from a bad fall at the age of 6 dispelled any remaining doubts. “Her fingers and feet are exactly like those of my child who disappeared in the tsunami,” Yusnidar said. “I have no doubt that she is my daughter. I’m extremely happy. I was convinced my daughter was gone. Both of Yusnidar’s daughters disappeared on that terrible day seven years ago. When the tsunami struck on Dec. 26, 2004, Tarmiyus tried to save everyone but was only able to keep hold of his wife and their 1-year-old son. His daughters were ripped from his grasp by the surge. The family’s home was destroyed. They now live in a house built for them by a nongovernmental organization in another part of the city. “We looked everywhere for our two daughters, to no avail,” Tarmiyus said, recalling years of desperate searching. Yusnidar said that everytime there was a report of a child believed killed in the tsunami surfacing, they rushed to check in the hope it was their daughter. Mary said someone had taken her to Banda Aceh, where she was taken in by a widow who renamed her Herawati. She was also given a job, begging on the street. While the widow treated her well, Mary said, the man who made her beg beat her frequently. She finally gathered the courage to leave and attempt to find her family in Meulaboh. The widow, she said, took her to the bus station in Banda Aceh.
More than 170,000 people in Aceh were killed in the tsunami.
PS. NON SO BENE L’INGLESE. Gli articoli in originale li metto per esercizio, va bene?