The Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Andaman Sea are home to Asiaâ€™s last Stone Age tribes.
There are six main groups:
1. the 270 strong Jarava;
2. the 100 member Onge;
3. the 50 - 250 member Sentinelese;
4. the 41 member Great Andamanese;
5. the 380 Shompen;
6. and the 30,000 member Nicobarese.
The Associated Press reports that "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."
IPSNews reports that â€śSurvival International (SI), a London-based group that tries to defend the worldâ€™s most vulnerable indigenous peoples, said that four of the five most isolated groups on the islands â€“ the Jarawa, the Onge, the sentinelese, and the Great Andamanese â€“ may have suffered little, if any loss of life.â€ť
â€śSophie Grig, SIâ€™s Andamans campaigner, said she expected the isolated communities to be less affected in the long term because they do not rely on an extensive infrastructure.
â€śThey build their own houses, hunt their own food and are entirely self-sufficient and therefore wonâ€™t suffer in the same way as the settler communities who use roads and boat services and rely on others to build their houses or to buy and sell their food,â€ť she told IPS. â€śAs long as the fresh water supplies of the isolated peoples are intact, then they should be able to continue their lives just as theyâ€™ve always done.â€ť
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which are administered by India, are geographically much closer to Burma and Thailand, stretching along a 435-mile archipelago about 400 miles directly north of the epicenter of the earthquake that triggered the tsunamis that killed at least 150,000 people around the Indian Ocean.â€ť
The survival of these Paleolithic tribes and their way of life has been threatened mainly by the encroachment of settler communities and the roads that cut through their forest.