Institute of Economic and Cultural Geography Research Research projects
Tsunami Risks, Vulnerability and Resilience in the Phang-Nga Province, Thailand

Tsunami Risks, Vulnerability and Resilience in the Phang-Nga Province, Thailand

Led by:  Prof. Dr. Javier Revilla Diez (University of Hannover), Prof. Dr. Horst Sterr (University of Kiel), Prof. Dr. Ralf Ludwig (LMU Munich)
Team:  Philipp Willroth (University of Hannover), Hannes Römer (University of Kiel), Dr. Gunilla Kaiser (University of Kiel)
Year:  2011
Funding:  German Research Foundation (DFG)
Duration:  2008 - 2011
Is Finished:  yes

The Mega-Tsunami of December 2004 impacted the coastal regions of the Thai Provinces Phang-Nga and Phuket along the Andaman Sea. It strongly devastated coastal ecosystem as well as towns, villages and tourism resorts. In addition to the tragic loss of many lives, the destructions caused high economic losses in the regions. The regions that are primarily specialised in Tourism especially the Region of Phuket and Khao Lak suffered from a decrease of Tourism. The effects of this external shock not only concentrated on the affected region but also spread on the complete economic system of Thailand. So the economic growth was strongly hindered by the effects of the 2004 tsunami.

The Project attempts to make a contribution to the Risk Management in the tsunami affected areas by assessing the quantitative aspects of vulnerability. The vulnerability assessment will rely on a quantitative survey of the damage potential at the company and household level to measure the indirect risks within the region. Beside these surveys the timesaving method of remote sensing will be used to quantify direct effects on infrastructure, assets of Companies and Households and ecosystems.

The second step of the project is to develop from these quantitative analyses a generic methodology which is suitable for risk assessments at various levels of scale and also applicable for different types of coastal zones. This methodology will contribute to effective tsunami flood risk management and as a result will be a Tsunami Risk and Information Tool to support public and private decision makers in risk management for extreme events in the region and beyond. 


  • Willroth, P.; Massmann, F.; Wehrhahn, R.; Revilla Diez, J. (2012): Socio-economic vulnerability of coastal communities in southern Thailand: the development of adaptation strategies. In: Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 12, 2647-2658.
  • Römer, H.; Willroth, P.; Kaiser, G.; Vafeidis, A.T.; Ludwig, R.; Sterr, H.; Revilla Diez, J. (2012): Potential of remote sensing techniques for tsunami hazard and vulnerability analysis – a case study from Phang-Nga province, Thailand, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 12, 2103-2126, doi:10.5194/nhess-12-2103-2012.
  • Willroth, P. (2012): Quantitative vulnerability assessment for economic systems: vulnerability and the process of recovery for households and companies in Phang-Nga and Phuket Provinces in Thailand, Europäische Hochschulschriften: Reihe 5, Volks- und Betriebswirtschaft, 3407, Lang, Frankfurt, M.
  • Willroth, P.; Revilla Diez, J.; Arunotai, N. (2011): Modelling the economic vulnerability of households in the Phang-Nga Province (Thailand) to natural disasters. In Natural Hazards  58 (2), S. 753–769. Online verfügbar unter
  • Sterr, H.; Kaiser, G.; Römer, H.; Revilla Diez, J.; Willroth, P.; Ludwig, R. (2009): Tsunamigefährdung an den Küsten Thailands. Was lehrt die Katastrophe von 2004? In: Geographische Rundschau , Band 61, Heft Nr. 12, Seite 28-35.

Presentations to Scientific Audiences:

  • Willroth, P. (2010): Modeling the Economic Vulnerability of Households in the Phang-nga and Phuket Provinces. The 4th Thai-German Scientific Conference. Ocean Geosciences, Marine Ecology and Engineering for Natural Hazard Management and Sustainable Use of Marine Resources. 28.02.2010. Bangkok, Thailand.
  • Willroth, P. (2009): Ökonomische Vulnerabilität von Unternehmen und Haushalten in Khao Lak, Südthailand. Jahrestagung des Arbeitskreis Südostasien in der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Geographie. 4. 07.2009. Köln.
  • Willroth, P. (2009): Quantitative assessment of economic vulnerability for the Phang-nga and Phuket Provinces. 1st bilateral workshop of the NRCT and DFG funded project “TRIAS” – Tracing Tsunami Impacts On- and Offshore in the Andaman Sea Region. 14.02.2009. Braunschweig.
  • Willroth, P. (2008): Tsunami Risks, Vulnerability and Resilience in the Phangnga and Phuket Province, Thailand - framework for economic vulnerability assessment. Jahrestagung des Arbeitskreis Südostasien in der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Geographie. 14.06.2008. Hannover.