Child Survives Tsunami, Finds Parents Again After 7 Years of Searching

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia — A girl who was swept away in the Indian Ocean tsunami seven years ago said Friday she broke down in tears this week after tracking down her parents, who had long lost hope of finding her alive.

The 15-year-old showed up in Aceh province’s hard-hit town of Meulaboh earlier this week, saying that not long after the wave hit she was “adopted” by a woman who called her Wati and forced her to beg, sometimes beating her and keeping her in the streets until 1 a.m.

When the teen stopped bringing in money, she was told, “Go ahead, leave … go find your parents then, they’re in Meulaboh.”

With only patchy memories about her past – she was only 8 when the tsunami hit, an age where most children don’t know their relatives’ full names – Wati began her search, telling people she thought her grandfather was “Ibrahim.”

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