The country is vulnerable to many natural and human-induced hazards: floods, tsunamis, storms, droughts, landslides, forest fires and epidemics. Hydrological events and droughts have severely impacted Thailand on a regular basis and the country experienced one of the most deadly events in human history, the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. Droughts and floods pose the greatest threat to the country. In addition, cyclones pose a minor risk to the northern portions of the country.
This section provides a summary of key natural hazards and their associated socioeconomic impacts in a given country. It allows for a quick assessment of most vulnerable areas through the spatial comparison of natural hazard data with development data, thereby identifying exposed livelihoods and natural systems.
The charts provide overview of the most frequent natural disaster in a given country and understand the impacts of those disasters on human populations.
Climate change is now recognized to have a significant impact on disaster management efforts and pose a significant threat to the efforts to meet the growing needs of the most vulnerable populations. The demands of disaster risk management are such that concise, clear, and reliable information is crucial. The information presented here offers insight into the frequency, impact and occurrence of natural hazards. Source (PDF)
Understanding natural hazard occurrence as well as historical climate conditions, in relation to development contexts, is critical to understanding a country’s historical vulnerability. This tool allows the visualization of different natural hazards or historical climate conditions with socio-economic and development datasets. Select the Development Context and either a Natural Hazard or Climate Condition and overlay horizontally by sliding the toggle left or right to gain a broader sense of historically vulnerable areas.
Data presented under Historical Climate Conditions are reanalysis products derived from ERA5-Land data. ERA5-Land is a global land-surface dataset at 9 km resolution, consistent with atmospheric data from the ERA5 reanalysis from 1950 onward. Climate reanalyses combine past observations with models to generate consistent time series of multiple climate variables. They provide a comprehensive description of the observed climate as it has evolved during recent decades, on 3D grids at sub-daily intervals.
This data has been collected, aggregated and processed by the Climate Resilience Cluster of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Earth Observation for Sustainable Development (EO4SD) initiative.
- Floods and droughts can occur within the same year, although droughts are more common and more frequent than floods. This is due partly to highly intensive land use and partly to different rainfall patterns and physical characteristics in different regions throughout the country.
- Most cases of severe droughts occur in the north and northeast regions, which account for over 80% of the country’s drought-prone areas.
- Malaria is endemic in specific areas of Thailand, particularly the rural, forested areas.
More information on natural hazards can be found at ThinkHazard.
- Early warning systems: Achieving disaster risk reduction can be approached by the construction of a standardized disaster risk assessment system. In this context, the integration of emergency response ensures timely and inclusive relief provision of the disaster affected population and land. In the agricultural sector, policy makers may consider increasing the management capacity of farmers under high-risk situations and as well as enhancing climate and early warning systems. Though Thailand took immediate action to establish National Disaster Warning Center, covering both natural and man-made disasters, there is a need to constantly update and expand the reach of it.
- Effective Damage Assessment: In order to effectively assess damages caused by large scale disaster events, remote survey technology should be introduced nation-wide. Relevant staff would need to be trained to enhance their capacity in applying satellite images to assess damages.
- Application of community-centered approach: The integration of disaster risk management and vulnerability to climate change and extreme events at the community level is one important step towards developing the capacity of local communities to integrate climate change into the community development process. Going by lessons learned from the tsunami disaster and disaster management experiences in coastal areas, as well as integrating climate risk into community development processes can be seen as an effective way to strengthen community resilience. Disaster-related knowledge learning and sharing should be encouraged through policies and public awareness promotions. This creates an opportunity to improve public safety in all key sectors.
- Refined research: Studies on climate change effects have been conducted. Research on sea level rise in marine and coastal areas in the southern region of Thailand indicates marginal change in sea level in general. However, there is need for refined research and development studies at the provincial level to better manage impacts of sea level rise. Thailand has introduced climate factors into disaster management and further research and development in this area are urgently needed. In particular, there is a weaknesses of studies on vulnerability and adaptation to sea level rise which poses the need for research on socio-economic development scenarios in coastal areas covering a period compatible with the sea level rise in order to derive adaptation options.
- Technologies: For an effective management of disasters, Thailand could consider improving its technological equipment, especially:
- Technologies for warning systems for disaster-prone areas and for an agricultural climate forecast;
- Technologies to cope with coastal erosions, and are appropriate for local conditions;
- Public health and disease prevention management system in disaster-prone or climate change-risk areas;
- Analytical techniques in order to prioritize selected adaptation options across different sectors and issues, and to meaningfully convey the message at policy making levels.