Five members of the Great Andamanese tribe, a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal group (PVTG), have tested positive for COVID-19. The Great Andamanese are one of five PVTGs that reside in the Andamans archipelago and this is one of the first cases of COVID-19 infection among the endangered PVTGs of the region.
Tribes in Andaman
- The Great Andamanese, who number just 74, speak Jeru among themselves. The five PVTGS residing in Andamans are Great Andamanese, Jarawas, Onges, Shompens and North Sentinelese.
- The four major tribes of Andaman are as follows –
- Great Andamanese – Strait Island is the part of North and Middle Andaman district which is the home to Great Andamanese tribe, Fewer than 50 Great Andamanese are alive today.
- Jarawa – South Andaman and Middle Andaman Islands is inhabited by the Jarawa tribes, there are only 300-400 people of this community alive today.
- Sentinelese –North Sentinel Island is part of North Andaman region which is home to the Sentinelese tribe, only 50-100 tribes are alive today.
- Onge – The Little Andaman Island is home to Ongetribes, these tribes are fewer than 100.
- The Andaman tribes including the Sentinelese are Negrito, where the Nicobar tribes are Mongoloid. Seafaring, Hunting, Forest dwelling are the predominant occupation of these tribes.
What are PVTGs?
- There are certain tribal communities who have declining or stagnant population, low level of literacy, pre-agricultural level of technology and are economically backward. They generally inhabit remote localities having poor infrastructure and administrative support.
- These groups are among the most vulnerable section of our society as they are few in numbers, have not attained any significant level of social and economic development.
- 75 such groups have been identified and categorised as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).