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Hanoi Family Finds Long-Lost Daughter in Quarantine After 24 Years Missing

In the time of unprecedented hardships, a family in Hanoi found the light at the end of the tunnel. 

Nguoi Lao Dong reports that on July 17, the Lang Son General Hospital confirmed that it has returned 58-year-old Trần Thị Huệ to her family living in Hanoi’s Hai Ba Trung District after she completed her compulsory two-week quarantine. The story might sound like that of thousands of other Vietnamese nationals who arrived in the country during this COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s a miraculous incident for Trần Thế Nguyên, Huệ’s estranged brother.

According to Nguyên, when the local police informed him that his sister was discovered at a quarantine facility in Lang Son, everyone found it hard to believe.

“Hà [the family’s youngest sibling] and I went to pick up Hue at the Lang Son General Hospital,” Nguyên said in recounting the surreal experience to Phu Nu. “On the way, we were worried that Hue wouldn’t know us after all these years, but right when we met, she recognized Hà and then me.”

Huệ was able to identify herself and her siblings from an old photo that Nguyên brought. She was among a group of stranded Vietnamese nationals that the police of Guangxi Province, China returned to Vietnam on July 3.

After 24 years of being away from Vietnam, Huệ’s mother tongue skills have deteriorated, and she now speaks with a mix of Vietnamese and Chinese. Still, she managed to remember her name and family address, so medical professionals at the hospital could contact her family.

Huệ told Phu Nu that she used to be married while in China. One day, on a trip to visit relatives, she got stranded from the husband and wandered aimlessly for days. When Chinese police spotted her, they ushered her onto a bus with other Vietnamese nationals and repatriated them.

Nguyên explained that in 1996, his sister was tricked by a charlatan into leaving home, and had been missing ever since. The family filed a police report and had been searching for her.

[Photo: Huệ (second from left) with her family and hospital staff/Ngoi Sao]