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Quantitative Vulnerability Assessment for Economic Systems

Vulnerability and the Process of Recovery for Households and Companies in Phang-Nga and Phuket Provinces in Thailand


Philipp Willroth

In 2004 tsunami waves caused huge economic losses along the coastline of Southern Thailand. These resulted from direct damages and the following economic downturn. This study investigates the factors that led to this vulnerable situation. One of the greatest challenges in vulnerability research is the quantification. To answer this question, a wide database has been used, encompassing highly accurate remote sensing data, quantitative surveys and qualitative focus group discussion data. These data have been integrated in a structural equation model to reproduce factors and relations leading to the hazard induced effects and the capabilities to cope with. The model showed that the impact was almost completely compensated for by households’ and companies’ internal and external resilience capabilities.


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This work is integrated in the project “Tsunami Risks, Vulnerability and Resili- ence in the Phang-Nga and Phuket Provinces, Thailand (TRAIT)” funded by the German Research Council (DFG). This project is supplemented by a project funded by the National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT) focusing on the development of risk management guidelines. Without the generous funding of the DFG and the close collaboration with the Thai partner project this work had never been possible. Especially I like to thank my advisor Prof. Dr. Javier Revilla Diez for devel- oping the project idea for the economic vulnerability assessment in TRAIT. He established an excellent network to the Thai project partners which allowed the comprehensive data collection this work can rely on. During the project he al- ways gave conceptual support if necessary; but he also granted the space for de- veloping new ideas and approaches. Furthermore I’d like to thank him for creat- ing an excellent surrounding for writing this dissertation. Also I’d like to thank my colleagues at the Institute for Economic and Cultural Geography at the Leib- niz University of Hannover for the uncounted discussions; especially I’d like to stress out Dr. Daniel Schiller who always has been open to discussions and shared his deep knowledge about Thailand with me. He also was the first to comment the draft of this thesis and gave several useful comments helping to finish this work. I also like to thank Priv.-Doz. Dr.-Ing. Jörn Birkmann for ac- cepting the external examination of...

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