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World Brings Death To Tsunami Survivor Tribes

India: Outside World Brings Death To Tsunami Survivor Tribes

Contact with the outside world is bringing death to the tribes of the Andaman Islands, who famously survived the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.

Eight members of the Onge tribe died this month after drinking an unknown liquid from a container that washed ashore on their island reserve.

In 2004 the Onge were reported to have saved themselves by running to higher ground when they saw the sea recede prior to the tsunami. The eight people who died from poisoning this month made up eight percent of the tribe’s population, which stood at only one hundred before the tragedy.

In November, a man from the Jarawa tribe was killed in a conflict with poachers who were fishing illegally in the Jarawa reserve. The tribe also killed one of the fishermen.

The invasion of their land by poachers is threatening the Jarawa’s existence, depleting their food sources and risking bringing further conflict and diseases to which the tribe have no immunity. The Jarawa number 320 and have only had friendly contact with outsiders for ten years.

For the first time, a Jarawa has spoken out about poaching on camera. Watch the video at

Survival’s director Stephen Corry said today, ‘It’s a bitter irony that these tribes, who made headlines when they survived the tsunami, are dying due to contact with outsiders. They have lived on the Andaman Islands for up to 60,000 years – if they are not to be wiped out, their land must be protected.’


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