Taken from here.
January 24, 2005
One of the regions hardest hit by the December 26 tsunami was an extremely remote chain of more than 500 islands known collectively as the Andamans and Nicobars.
Governed by India, the archipelago separates the Bay of Bengal from the Andaman Sea. The islands are home to several hunter-gatherer tribes who until fairly recently have had very little contact with the outside world.
Anthropologists initially feared the tribes could have been completely wiped out. But Indian Air Force pilots flying sorties over the islands days after the tsunami reported seeing men who fired arrows at their helicopters. Since then there have been reports that the islanders used their ancient knowledge of nature to escape the tsunami.
Bernice Notenboom, president of Moki Treks, a travel company specializing in indigenous cultural tourism, is one of the few outsiders to have visited the tribes. She tells National Geographic of her impressions from her visit in April 2003.
How did the indigenous islanders fare in the tsunami? What have you been able to tell so far?
Due to its remoteness, it took several days before reports came out about the dead and missing in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The first reliable reports on the fate of the Andamanese tribes indicate that most have survived.
Their awareness of the ocean, earth, and the movement of animals has been accumulated over 60,000 years of inhabiting the islands. Oral history teachings and their hunter-gatherer lifestyle might have prepared them to move deeper into the forests after they felt the first trembles of the earthquake.
In contrast, the Nicobarese were badly hit. The southernmost island was only 260 miles (418 kilometers) from the epicenter and suffered a series of aftershock earthquakes not one of them less than magnitude 6 [on the moment-magnitude scale] in the days following the big shake. Tens of thousand people are missing and feared dead.