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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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10 Conclusion

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10.1 Summarising the empirical findings Ideally, vulnerability assessment aims at a comprehensive and holistic assess- ment of the status of a specific sphere and the processes which are started by the impact of an external shock. Theoretically based and proofed in the empirical evaluation, it could be found that the vulnerable status and the processes which follow are composed of the three system perspectives of exposure, sensitivity and resilience, encompassing internal and external capabilities and characteris- tics. In order to achieve a most holistic vulnerability assessment, the derived structural equation model integrates elements of vulnerability research from the different scientific disciplines into a single model. Elements of vulnerability as- sessment from economics, social sciences and physical risk assessment were integrated. This holistic vulnerability assessment leads to a differentiated out- come of the vulnerable status of households and companies on the micro-level. In the following section, the guiding questions set up in the ‘Introduction’ will be taken up and conclusively answered. E1 Which differences can be seen between the study areas in terms of directly and indirectly exposed assets? In order to estimate the coping capacity of households and companies to- wards the direct and indirect effects of natural hazards, these need to be quanti- fied. First, a regression-based procedure was developed to estimate the total amount of assets per household based on remote sensing indicators. In a second step, the thus specified parts of the structural equation model were applied to the households and companies. The results showed that the...

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