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A&N's ancient Jarawa tribe survives tsunami

In a rare interaction with outsiders, the tribe announced that all 250 members of their community had survived.
PTI | By Associated Press, Jirkatang
PUBLISHED ON JAN 06, 2005 06:47 PM IST

Members of the ancient Jarawa tribe emerged on Thursday from their forest habitat for the first time since the December 26 tsunami and earthquakes rocked the isolated Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

In a rare interaction with outsiders, the tribe announced that all 250 members of their community had survived.

"We are all safe after the earthquake. We are in the forest in Balughat," Ashu, an arrow-wielding Jarawa, said in broken Hindi through an interpreter in a restricted forest area in the northern reaches of South Andaman Island.

According to varying estimates, there are a total of only 400 to 1,000 members alive today from the Jarawas, Great Andamanese, Onges, Sentinelese and Shompens.

Some anthropological DNA studies indicate the generations may have spanned back 70,000 years.

They originated in Africa and migrated to India through Indonesia, anthropologists say.

Seven men — wearing only underwear and amulets — emerged from the forest to meet the government and police officials to say they had all fled to the forest and survived.

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