Thailand Survey

Climate change related disaster risk reduction traits differs considerably by gender. For instance, women have a greater likelihood of collecting emergency supplies, formulating a family emergency plan and are more than likely to out-migrate from tsunami-vulnerable areas.

A research paper by Nopphol Witvorapong, Raya Muttarak and Wirapom Pothisiri looks in-depth into both the 2004 and 2012 tsunami events in Thailand, which are the end-result of climate change processes. The linkage between climate change processes and the tsunami events were addressed in a 2009 article by Reuters. The article highlights a statement made by Professor Bill McGuire from University College London. Professor Bill McGuire told Reuters during an interview that “When the ice is lost, the earth’s crust bounces back up again and that triggers earthquakes, which trigger submarine landslides, which cause tsunamis,”. The survey presented in the research paper stresses that climate induced natural disasters like tsunamis might be more intensified in the near-future, which in turn might increase the level of disaster risks and vulnerability levels in Thailand amongst poorer/marginalized sections of the society, elderly people, children, women and livestock populations.

Phang Nga province in Thailand was selected as an appropriate study site for the survey because the province was one of the hardest-hit areas among the six tsunami-affected provinces in Thailand during the 2004 tsunami. In the Phang Nga province, there were widespread losses of human lives along with massive economic losses resulting from damages to buildings and infrastructures. On April 11, 2012, an earthquake of magnitude 8.6 occurred under the Indian Ocean floor, which happened in northern Sumatra just 434 kilometres southwest of the Banda Aceh province in Indonesia. Following the earthquake there was another major shock of magnitude 8.2 followed by a series of aftershocks. As a result, there was a tsunami alert generated in the countries situated along the Indian Ocean, which also included Phang Nga province and the provinces situated in the western coastlines of southern Thailand. In 2012, a major tsunami event did not occur similar to the one in 2004 as the plate moved horizontally rather than vertically. Similarly, in April 16, 2012 an earthquake of magnitude 4.3 occurred and the epicenter was in Thalang district, situated just 22 kilometres from the Phang Nga province in Thailand. The earthquake was followed by around 26 aftershocks between 16 and 22 April 2012.

After the 2012 earthquakes in the Indian Ocean, the research paper by Witvorapong et.al 2015 conducted a survey of 640 households in total from which 563 households were successfully interviewed, which gave the total response rate of 88%. The 563 households surveyed were living in tsunami-prone areas in Phang Nga, Thailand. The survey took place from 17 April 2012 to May 13 2012 and the survey data types typically included both individual and community-level data. For the survey, the participants included were the head of a household, the spouse or a household member aged 15 years or older. The core objective of the survey was to assess the tsunami-preparedness levels and extent of vulnerability amongst the 563 households surveyed. One of the main findings of the survey is that tsunami preparedness levels along with the likelihood of undertaking risk reduction actions is highly correlated with social participation whereas the extent of vulnerability decreases as social participation increases. For instance, individuals who are associated with increased involvement in community activities will have greater likelihood of following disaster-related news very closely, having adequate emergency supplies and having a well-developed family emergency plan.

Another key finding of the survey, considers the suitable individual, household and community-level variables, which are associated with disaster risk reduction traits. It has been identified that an adverse effect from the 2004 tsunami is a driving force leading to preventive actions, which include behaviors like following disaster-related news closely and having a plan to migrate. In addition, the survey results find that, having experienced a tsunami event is not highly correlated with the likelihood of preparing emergency supplies and having a well-developed family emergency plan. Here, the survey findings indicate that while previous experience in a tsunami event might be positively associated with increasing the preparedness level in general. However, having experienced a tsunami event does not always strengthen the preparedness measures. Furthermore, the survey findings highlight that individuals having tertiary education are more than likely to collect/gather supplies and implement a family emergency plan whereas having prior tsunami experience does not lead such actions.

Finally, the findings point out that disaster risk reduction traits differs considerably by gender. For instance, women have a greater likelihood of collecting emergency supplies, formulating a family emergency plan and are more than likely to out-migrate from tsunami-vulnerable areas. The findings also highlight from the community level perspective that a community possessing greater proportion of highly educated women will have a greater tsunami preparedness level as education increases the access to socio-economic resources and disaster-related information. The survey findings address the crucial role that educated women play, which in turn decreases the extent of vulnerability amongst the community by reducing malaria risk amongst children, decreasing disaster-related deaths, and further strengthening their adaptive capacity. A community with more educated women will be able to effectively adapt and cope with a tsunami event.

Therefore, the core findings of the research survey, is both on the linkage between individual and community-level perspectives. From the individual level perspective, the surveys indicates how an individual’s involvement in community-based activities leads to greater disaster preparedness and intention to out migrate from disaster prone areas thus increasing the extent of social participation within a community-level. Finally, the enhancement of social participation within a community, is recognized as an imperative for decreasing vulnerability levels and disaster risks.

Learn More

To learn more about the research survey that was conducted in Phang Nga province Thailand please visit https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4495990/
To learn more about the article by Reuters, which provides the linkage between climate change processes and tsunami events, please see http://www.reuters.com/article/us-climate-geology/global-warming-may-bring-tsunami-and-quakes-scientists-idUSTRE58F62I20090916