Factors affecting disaster preparedness in tsunami-prone areas

By Shannon Bohman ’19

The devastating impacts of the 2004 Indonesian tsunami are still felt today.

Following the 2012 Indian Ocean earthquakes, Dr. Witvorapong and his colleagues surveyed 557 households in tsunami-prone areas of Phang Nga, Thailand. They focused on the relationship between social participation and disaster risk reduction actions, such as stockpiling supplies, making family emergency plans, and promoting risk reduction actions via community involvement.

To analyze the data, the scientists employed a multivariate probit model. This statistical tool is used to estimate several outcomes of multiple binary decisions, meaning each can be answered with a “yes” or “no”. They found that families who incurred severe damage from the 2004 Indonesian tsunami are more prepared than those who experienced little to no damage. They also found that communities with a higher proportion of college-educated women enjoy significantly higher preparedness measures and social participation. This study strengthens the idea that communities who invest in the education and empowerment of their women consequently invest in their own progress and stability.



  1. Witvorapong et al., Social participation and disaster risk reduction behaviors in tsunami prone areas. PLOS Science Journal (2015).
  2. Image acquired from: youtube.com

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