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Tribes Who Survived Tsunami 'May Be Wiped Out'

Published: Fri 23 Dec 2005 10:46 AM
Andaman Tribes Who Survived Tsunami 'May Be Wiped Out'
India: Andaman tribes who survived tsunami 'may be wiped out'
The remote tribes of the Andaman Islands, famous for shooting arrows at a patrolling helicopter following last year's December 26 tsunami, are in danger of being wiped out completely by settlers invading their land.
The tribes survived the tsunami intact despite its heavy impact on their islands. Members of one tribe said that on seeing the sea recede, they knew to run to higher ground.
The Sentinelese tribe, photographed shooting at the helicopter, resist all contact with outsiders approaching their tiny island. But the forest reserve of the 270-strong Jarawa tribe is being overrun by settlers from the Indian mainland, stealing the animals they hunt, plying them with alcohol and tobacco and sexually abusing Jarawa women. Local police are often complicit in this abuse.
One Jarawa man told journalists after the tsunami, 'My world is in the forest. Your world is outside. We don't like people from outside.'
Indian activists and tribal rights organisation Survival International fear that the Jarawa may very soon be wiped out unless their land is protected. The islands administration has ignored an Indian supreme court order to close the road cutting through the Jarawas' land, and no effort has been made to curb abuse by police.
Survival's director Stephen Corry said today, 'It is a tragic irony that these unique tribes, whose sophisticated knowledge of their environment has allowed them to survive on the Andamans for 60,000 years, are under threat from their fellow man. The Indian government must act to protect them before it is too late.'
For background on the Jarawa tribe visit http://www.survival-international.org/tribes.php?tribe_id=37
For back ground on the Sentinelese, Onge and Great Andamanese tribes visit http://www.survival-international.org/related_material.php?id=92

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