ACTNews, DONGGALA – Sad stories come from the survivors of earthquake and tsunami in Palu, Sigi and Donggala. Muara Housing Complex in Boya Village, Donggala, was among the areas hit by the tsunami. It smashed the area and dragged around 30 houses into the sea. The road to the housing complex was blocked. The settlement area is now nothing but ruins.
A few days past the tsunami, the residents of Muara Complex who evacuated returned to this place. They were not going home. Rather, they were still searching for their missing family members. Some of the locals even put a board with the name of their missing relatives written on it. Until the third week after the disasters, 29 have been found, while 12 are still missing.
We met Chika (9), a tsunami survivor whose two younger brothers, Izham (7) and Althaf (3) carried away by the tsunami. Izham’s body was found, but Althaf is still missing. Chika’s family can now pray and hope for the best.
“My brother Izham was found on second day. I saw the body. He has been buried. Now, my mother, my father and I are still searching for Althaf,” Chika continued.
Chika further told us the story of what happened in that disastrous Friday (9/28). When the tsunami happened, Chika had just finished taking a shower. When the earth started shaking, she ran outside wearing only towel wrapped around her body.
The earthquake got stronger. She ran to the direction of a public septic tank close to her house. She met her brother Izham. Unfortunately, the septic tank collapsed and blocked their way. “There was no other way to run, but suddenly the tsunami was already rising high. I didn’t know where they came from, but suddenly my father and my brothers appeared. My father hugged me and my brothers Izham and Althaf. He embraced us all,” said Chika.
While being embraced by her father, she felt the water swirled her around. Shortly, she was separated from her father. She was tossed around by the waves, hitting the ruins around her. She found a way to keep herself alive by pinching her nose to stop the water from entering her lungs.
“Once I got separated from my father, I felt like someone was carrying me. He looked like an old man. I thought he was the imam because he wore white cloth, white sarong and white kufi hat. He carried me to a dry place, and I forgot what happened after that,” said Chika.
There, Chika met her neighbor. Ria (35), Chika’s mother, mentioned that she was not home when the tsunami happened. She met Chika on a hill to which many of the survivors evacuated.
“Alhamdulillah, I met Chika although I was still saddened because I still had no information about my husband and my two sons,” said Ria.
That night, Ria and Chika were extremely saddened. The disasters have separated them from Chika’s father and her two brothers. On the other side, it was quite a miracle that Allah saved Chika from the strong tsunami wave that smashed the area where they lived.
At around 11 p.m., Ria and Chika finally met Chika’s father. He was alone without Izham nor Althaf. Chika and her parents were crying. Her father was too weak to tell them what happened.
“Finally, he was able to tell us what happened. He said that Izham and Althaf were separated not because they slipped off his embrace, but because of the strong water current that trapped them. Izham and Althaf were sucked into the water current and suddenly disappeared,” said Ria.
Ria said that her family has surrendered Althaf’s fate to God. Although he is still missing, Ria and her family is ready to face what might happen to Althaf. Chika understands how prayers and hope have strengthened her and her family. Chika has only one wish, “If Althaf had passed away, may Althaf and Izham enter Paradise. Amen.”