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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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4 Data base of the study

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For the assessment of vulnerability in the affected region, quantitative and quali- tative data-were combined. This is due to the fact that this study pursues two major aims: on the one hand, the assessment and quantification of the vulnera- bility situation triggered by the tsunami of 2004, and on the other hand, that of the recovery period which followed. For the assessment of vulnerability and re- covery after the tsunami of 2004, a quantitative, standardised questionnaire was used. The majority of the questions had been designed as closed questions, with open questions rarely being used for gathering statements concerning the recov- ery process. This design was chosen in accordance with the purpose of the study, i.e. producing a quantitative and generic model based on a system of hy- potheses derived from several studies on vulnerability theory (cp. Chapter 3). Previous research and a consistent theoretical framework are necessary as a basis for applying a quantitative method including closed questions (DIEKMANN 2010:531). The main reason for choosing a qualitative and open approach to as- sessing the mitigation strategies of households and companies in the aftermath of the tsunami of 2004 was the specific characteristics of quantitative research methods. Three specific characteristics in particular play important roles: the focus on the research subject, i.e. the special perspective of the interviewee, the openness, i.e. open questions without giving predetermined answers, and the analysis in the familiar surroundings of the interviewee (DIEKMANN 2010; MAYRING 2002). This triangulation should support the verification of the...

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