Tsunami girl, 15, finds her family after seven years


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The Independent Online

A girl who was swept away in the Indian Ocean tsunami seven years ago has recounted how she broke down in tears this week after tracking down her parents, who had long lost hope of finding her alive.

Meri Yuranda, 15, appeared in the town of Meulaboh in Aceh province, one of the areas worst-hit by the tsunami, saying that not long after the wave hit she was "adopted" by a woman who called her Wati and forced her to beg. When she stopped bringing in money, she was told to leave.

With only patchy memories about her past, Meri began her search, telling people she thought her grandfather was "Ibrahim". She met a cab driver in Meulaboh, who brought her to a man by that name. Though she didn't look familiar, he, in turn, quickly summoned her parents.

"When I saw my mother, I knew it was her," she said.