The Impact of Governance on Disaster Vulnerability
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Abstract: This thesis outlines research that was conducted on the relationship between governance, public policy and the impacts of disasters. Here, the vulnerability approach to disaster management is viewed through a political economy perspective, and I contend that political ideologies and economic structures influence vulnerability to disaster. This perspective is taken in order to determine how vulnerability reduction fits into a political agenda that combines a strong central state with a liberal economy. Khao Lak and Koh Phi Phi Don were the most severely impacted of Thailand's coastal communities in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. These two communities are used as primary case studies for the research. The population groups that were most vulnerable to the December 26, 2004 Asian tsunami are identified, and the social, environmental, political and economic factors that contributed to their vulnerability are analyzed. The methods of data collection for this project included interviews with key informants and with residents of Khao Lak and Koh Phi Phi Don. The conclusions drawn from the research fed into a series of recommendations designed to assist in ongoing disaster vulnerability reduction efforts in Thai and other developing country communities.