Aid and Reconstruction after a Disaster
ADBI series on Asian Economic Integration and Cooperation
1 INTRODUCTION The tsunami that hit six southern provinces of Thailand on 26 December 2004 is the worst natural disaster Thailand has ever experienced in terms of human tragedy, bringing incalculable misery to affected communities and massive damages to their livelihoods. It killed over 8000 people and injured thousands more; it damaged or destroyed thousands of houses, other buildings, roads, bridges, and other physical infrastructure. Because the tsunami hit some of Thailand’s most popular beach tourist resorts, a large number of foreign tourists were among the dead and injured. Total damages were assessed at around US$508 million, while losses were estimated at US$1.69 billion, totalling US$2.2 billion (1.4 per cent of GDP).2 The impact on the affected provinces was quite severe: it was assessed to be equivalent to one half of the combined gross provincial product (GPP). In some cases, such as that of Phuket, damage and losses equalled 90 per cent of GPP, and in Krabi and Phang Nga, they were around 70 per cent.3 Though the impact of the tsunami was quite severe, after accepting technical assistance at the early stages, Thailand relied mostly on its own resources in coping with the reconstruction tasks, unlike Indonesia and Sri Lanka. Thailand’s experience with the wider economic effects of large-scale reconstruction activities also seems to have differed from that of other affected countries in some respects. Overall Thailand appears to have been more successful than Indonesia and Sri Lanka in overcoming the economic effects of the...
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