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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

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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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List of tables ...................................................................................................... x List of figures ................................................................................................. xiii List of maps ..................................................................................................... xv 1 Introduction ....................................................................................................... 1 1.2 Background of research and research objectives .................................. 1 1.2 Central Questions .................................................................................. 4 1.3 Structure ................................................................................................ 5 2 Vulnerability of coastal regions to natural hazards: Theoretical framework ......................................................................................................... 7 2.1 Approaches for economic vulnerability assessment ............................. 9 2.1.1 Vulnerability from the human perspective ................................... 9 2.1.2 Operationalisation of vulnerability from the economics perspective .................................................................................. 11 2.1.3 Risk analysis or natural hazards approach as an element of vulnerability ................................................................................ 14 2.1.4 Synthesis of physical and social vulnerability ............................ 16 2.2 Integrative frameworks ....................................................................... 17 2.3 Vulnerability assessment for various-scale regions ............................ 20 2.4 Risk management ................................................................................ 22 2.5 Categorisation of external shocks ....................................................... 24 3 Vulnerability framework used in this study .................................................... 26 3.1 Elements of economic vulnerability ................................................... 26 3.2 Conceptual framework for this study .................................................. 29 3.2.1 Exposure of households and companies ..................................... 31 3.2.2 Physical sensitivity according to the risk analysis ...................... 37 3.2.3 Economic sensitivity deriving from regional structure .............. 41 3.2.4 Elements of household vulnerability .......................................... 42 3.2.5 Elements of business vulnerability ............................................. 47 3.3 Determining the level of vulnerability ................................................ 53 viii 4 Data base of the study ..................................................................................... 58 4.1 Secondary data .................................................................................... 58 4.2 Household and Company Survey ........................................................ 61 4.3 Focus group discussion ....................................................................... 68 4.4 Critical examination of the survey methodology ................................ 72 5 Methods of analysis ......................................................................................... 74 5.1 Structural equation modelling ............................................................. 74 5.1.1 Methods of structural equation modelling .................................. 75 5.1.2 Partial least square approach ....................................................... 77 5.1.3 Critical evaluation of structure equation modelling ................... 84 5.2 Usage of remote sensing and GIS for vulnerability assessment ......... 86 5.3 Discussion of methodological approach ............................................. 90 6...

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