Buu* and his wife were asleep when the tsunami struck. Chau*, their daughter, was also sleeping with her husband and two children. Around 9:15 pm they could hear the sound of waves coming on shore. Chau woke and ran out to see the store next door to them had collapsed. She woke everyone up, and they began to panic, by this point water had entered their home and was about one meter high.
Buu took his sarong and told his wife to get into it so they wouldn’t be separated. He told everyone to hold hands, so that if one of them drowned they would not be carried away by the waves. If they were all to drown, they would be together. Buu and his family tried to find their way to the main road. At one-point Chau’s daughter lost grip of her hand and disappeared into a ditch. Chau was able to use her feet to search for her daughter she finds her. As the family was swimming 10 meters towards the higher ground, a small fishing boat slammed into them.
Buu wife who is in her 60’s was then trapped between the boat and some wooden planks. Buu – in his 70’s with a heart condition mustered up all his strength trying to prevent the boat from separating them while still holding each other. They managed to grab on to a tree and started shouting for help because a canal separated their access to higher ground. The people across the canal warned them not to cross the canal because the bridge had been destroyed. Buu told his family to pray to Isa Almasih. “Isa Almasih help us” they prayed.
A piece of wood drifted towards Chau, and she grabbed it and started beating the water where the bridge was located to see whether it was still intact, it was. The family ventured forward slowly feeling their way across the bridge and eventually made it to higher ground.
About 12 am when the water had receded. Chau’s husband went back to their home, he discovered that their little store had been ransacked and the drawers in the rooms had all been opened and all their belongings were thrown all over the floor. They are now temporarily living in the hills.