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“With 10 positive Novel Corona Virus cases in the islands, the Andaman & Nicobar Administration is at present battling hard to ensure there is no further spread of the virus in the islands. […] While Andaman battles to contain spreading of COVID-19, the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG) of Andaman & Nicobar Islands remains neglected, thus causing a serious concern.
“According to sources, instructions have been issued to the Tribal Welfare Department to move the #Jarawa tribes towards the West Coast. Though the welfare staffs have been trying their best to ensure that the Jarawa do not come out of the specified area, the semi nomadic tribe who have been in close contact with the poachers stand a risk of contamination, if any of the poachers carrying symptoms of COVID-19 come in contact with the tribe.
“The poachers usually follow the west coast as their route for fishing, where the Jarawa have been asked to remain. Poachers anchor their boats in the shallow waters on the west coast and the Jarawa reach them using the two oar boats that the tribe possess. Although there is some patrolling by the Tribal Welfare staff to check on poaching, but at this juncture it remains insufficient. The need today is strict air and sea patrolling so as to ensure that no poachers are able to enter the region.
“On the other hand, sources inform that while the 500-odd Jarawa still stand better chances of survival with regular patrolling, the case of the #Onge tribe of Little Andaman remains a matter of serious concern. There are 124 Onge members in total and have been left in a small settlement called Dugong Creek without any welfare staff posted to check on unforeseen eventualities.  The area where the Onge tribe has been settled is also prone to poaching. A decade ago ten young male members of the Onge tribe had died after consuming some mysterious fluid that was found floating on the shores. This amounted to the death of 10% of the Onge population.
“While this remains the situation of the two #PVTGs of Andaman Islands, the concern also remains for the #Shompen tribe of the Great Nicobar Island, who have been left on their own. Sources inform that there is one welfare staff posted in the area, which is a mockery in itself.”

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