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Wednesday 29 December 2004

Tsunami endangers survival of Andaman tribes

Wednesday, December 29, 2004 (Hyderabad):

The unprecedented devastation in the Andaman and Nicobar islands has raised real fears about virtual decimation of indigenous tribal groups on the islands.

Many of these tribes are living away from civil society, and smaller and more vulnerable islands and importantly, far away from any means of help.

Concerns raised

If the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are the most isolated among Indian territories, then the tribes that inhabit them are even more so.

Just 28 of the Great Andamanese Negroid tribes survive on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Scientists now fear the tsunami may have virtually decimated some of the 72 indigenous tribes, many living in isolation among the 319 islands.

"The majority of these tribes are highly endangered," said Dr Lalji Singh, Director, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad.

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