Sunday, February 1, 2015

Dec. 29, 2004; a post on; revisiting December 2004

Dec 29, 2004

this is another update on Andaman for information of this  group /......

Aboriginal tribes may have survived the tsunami wrath 

Port Blair, Dec. 29 :Amidst devastations caused by the killer tsunami  waves there were some positive indications today that the highly- endangered aboriginal tribes of Andaman and Nicobar islands may have  escaped the nature's wrath.
"The Jarwas, Onges and Sentinelese may not have been affected by the  killer waves as most of them have been in the Andaman area which has  not been much affected," Lt. Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands  Ram Kapse, said here today.
But he said there was some concern till now about the Shompens,  inhabitants of the Campbell Bay, as there was no information about  the effects of tsunami there.
Kapse said an 18-member expert committee has been set up to assess  the situation and the effect on the aborigines. Only after that would  the picture be clear.  The aborigines of Andaman and Nicobar were the most endangered tribes  in the world and considered modern world's only link to ancient  civilisations.
Meanwhile, a senior official of the Anthropological Survey of India  (ASI) in Kolkata told PTI that a group of ASI scientists sailed today  for Middle and South Andamans to ascertain the welfare of Jarwas, one  of the six aboriginal tribes who were inhabitants there since the  mesolithic period i.e. 2000 years ago.  "Only today, the situation seemed a little favourable for our  scientists to look out for the Jarwas residing in dense forests in  Baratangi and Kadamtala areas in Great Andamans," ASI Keeper L N  Soni, told PTI here.  Soni said the ASI was concerned about the welfare of the tribes --  Jarwas, Onges, Sentenelese, Shompen, Nicobarese and Great Andamanese - - inhabiting innumerable islets in the Andaman group of islands which
were slammed by last Sunday's high intensity tsunamis.
He said naval ships were trying to penetrate the heavily-damaged  forested islets to report on the other tribes. All these aboriginal tribes are stated to be world's oldest  aborigines, dating back to the Mesolithic period, though some  subscribe to the view that these tribes belonged to the upper  palaeolithic period.
The ASI Keeper said that once the Jarwas were located in their  original habitats, "we will be relieved about their safety that they  survived nature's worst onslaught."
As per the last census, there were 266-270 Jarwas in Middle and South Andamans.
He said that the communication network, both telecom and road, was in very bad shape making it a herculean task for approaching any of the islets. "However, our men have been trying to re-establish links with  them and see for themselves how they are doing."
The ASI scientists, he said, would enquire about their welfare, food  and drinking water availability and submit a report to the ASI headquarters.
At a later stage, ASI scientists would sail in groups to other islets  to trace other tribes, like the Onges, Shompens, Nicobarese and  Andamanese.
To a question, Soni said since Sentenelese were still hostile and  could not be approached by people from outside, information about them would have to be collected by "other means".
He said that ASI had moved the island administration for providing  support for information on these tribes.
All these tribes, he said, were adept at overcoming adverse maritime  conditions and were good swimmers while many of them lived on tree- tops.

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