123. The Unlikely Reunion

On December 26, 2004, a 10-minute long earthquake a 9.3 magnitude occurred in the Indian Ocean. massive earthquake, which is the third strongest ever in history, triggered various powerful tsunamis that reached a dozen countries' shores. Nearly 230,000 people were by the end of the catastrophe, and hundreds thousands of others ended up injured or missing. the midst of all the devastation caused by disaster, many amazing and inspiring survival stories have . One of the most extraordinary of these is story of a young girl named Wati.

The struck her hometown of Aceh when she was eight years old. Like so many others, the waves separated her from her family, and she up being washed into an unknown town. After years of searching for her, her family gave and assumed she had died after being swept . Miraculously, Wati was returned to her parents seven later, at the age of 15!

According to , she had been "adopted" by a stranger who her on the streets after the tsunami. Although woman took her in to live with her, forced Wati to beg on the streets and often beat her if she did not make money. The girl had tried to find her by asking for help from strangers, but did remember the names of her parents and could vaguely remember that she had a grandfather named .

Finally one day, a cab driver who heard 's story happened to know an old man with name in a nearby town and decided to her to him. Although the old man did recognize her at first, he took Wati to his daughter. "When I saw my mother, I it was her," said the 15-year-old. "I just ." The parents were able to confirm that it was their daughter based on a scar and on the girl's hip. This miraculous story is one of the only confirmed reunions among families were separated by the disaster.





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