|http://www.sina.com.cn 2005/01/07 10:09 国际在线|
Police guards were today posted at tsunami refugee camps in Indonesia to prevent orphaned children from being kidnapped by ruthless trafficking gangs.
Little Azis cries for his mama in his hospital bed.
Nurses at the Aceh Sepekat Foundation hospital in Northern Sumatra try to coax information from him but mama is all he will say.
They think he may be three, but can't be sure.
A commando's wife found him lying naked in a field seven hours after the ocean returned to its bed, leaving a trail of broken and bloated bodies 150 miles long down the western coast of Aceh, Indonesia.
Slinging his limp body over her shoulder, she continued her frantic search for her own missing children before sending him 200 miles away to be treated here, where at least he would have a chance of survival.
He is too young to tell what he has seen, how the waters rose up and took his family but spared him.
He is one of 35,000 children in Aceh province who were orphaned or separated from their parents by the earthquake and tsunami.
A generation severed from their families, their homes, their culture, and left to the mercy of fate.
If nobody comes forward to adopt him in the next few days, he will be sent to one of the many orphanages being hastily thrown up south of the Aceh border to give food and shelter to the most pitiful cases.
Dr Khairul, who treated Azis for infected cuts, said: "It is terrible. He is a lovely boy but he has no family. Nobody in the world."
In the next bed, eight-year-old Iwan Syahrizal stares blankly at the ceiling. His face and legs were slashed as the monstrous waves scooped him up from a field where he was playing football with friends.
He says: "I saw the sea come but we were not on the beach. "It came in fast and I tried to run but it got me and I was rolling, olling, rolling. I don't know what happened but suddenly I was in some bushes and the water was rushing in front of me."
A villager picked him up and brought him over the border as she fled. He lost his mother, father and five brothers and sisters that day.
But he is one of the lucky ones, in a dead zone where luck is judged by razor-thin margins.
He was reunited with his surviving brother, 17-year-old Fikar. He was in Medan when the disaster struck. He said: "When I heard what had happened I knew I had to go back to find out what had become of my family.
"It was very hard to get home and when I did I was told they had all died. Then I heard my brother Iwan might have been taken to Medan. I came here and looked everywhere.
"When I found him I cried, 'Thank God, I have one brother who is alive'. "But we have nothing. My family and home is gone. I have to take care of him but I don't know how."
Even he cannot get this traumatised little boy to take his food. "He has seen so much. I cannot even imagine. Now we are on our own."
Every day, hundreds more bewildered children are carried off buses and flights from Aceh and left to chance. Sinta Faridiba, seven, lost her whole family and is at a holding centre in Medan waiting to learn her fate.
At least 20 children are known to have been sold to childless couples before there is even a chance to find out if any relatives survived the tsunami.