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Climate Change Vulnerability in Thailand

Department of Environmetal Qulity Promotion

Department of Environmetal Qulity Promotion

Climate Change Vulnerability in Thailand

Over the past decade, Thailand has constantly faced natural disasters, both predictable events (floods, storms, drought, etc.) and /or unpredictable event due to the climate change (earthquake, coastal corrosion, tsunami, landslides, infectious diseases, etc.). Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation has drawn a calendar for natural disaster in Thailand as shown in Figure 1

Figure 6: Thailand natural disaster calendar;
Source: Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (2015)

1.Floods

During 2011, there was a worst flood in northeast and central parts of Thailand which damaged 65 out of 77 provinces. The flood disrupted all activities especially the economic and society. It resulted in greater than 45.7 billion USD or 13 percent of that year’s GDP. The manufacturing, agricultural, tourism and hospitality industry exposed to the significant impacts of changing weather patterns and the extreme events.

Rockefeller reported that Thailand is sensitive to climate change in the geographic, industry individuals’ levels as well. Thus, Thailand is more likely to suffer from the “flow-on effects”, which may include the increasing potential of disease outbreak, new immigrants and refugees, rising social and class-related tension, and agricultural sector sensitivity (Rockefeller, 2015).

Figure 2.1: Impacts from the big flooding event in 2011, Thailand; Picture Source: http://petmaya.com/%E0%B8%99%E0%B9%89%E0%B8%B3%E0%B8%97%E0%B9%88%E0%B8%A7%E0%B8%A1%E0%B8%9B%E0%B8%B5-2554

Figure 2.2: Impacts from the big flooding event in 2011, Thailand; Picture Source: http://petmaya.com/%E0%B8%99%E0%B9%89%E0%B8%B3%E0%B8%97%E0%B9%88%E0%B8%A7%E0%B8%A1%E0%B8%9B%E0%B8%B5-2554

Figure 2.3: Impacts from the big flooding event in 2011, Thailand; Picture Source:http://petmaya.com/%E0%B8%99%E0%B9%89%E0%B8%B3%E0%B8%97%E0%B9%88%E0%B8%A7%E0%B8%A1%E0%B8%9B%E0%B8%B5-2554

2. Droughts

Water scarcity in natural water resource and reservoir causes drought events in many regions in Thailand, and results in imbalance water supply and demand. Water scarcity has a lot of effects to agricultural sector, industrial sector, communities, and socio-economic. Climate change leads to variability in length of the rainy season and rainfall amounts, and leads to a longer period of drought. In 2011, 32 provinces in Thailand, especially northern, central and eastern region, faced drought events. In 2015, severe droughts occurred in Thailand due to the El Niño event, which affect amounts of rainfall and rainy season variation. Rice farmers in 22 provinces in Chao Phraya basin decelerated their rice plantation process. 4 million Rai of rice field were empty resulting in the loss of approximately 2 million tons of rice product, which equivalent to 15 million THB of income were gone (Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, 2015).

Figure 3.1 Impacts from drought events in Thailand; Picture Source: http://www.bangkokbiznews.com/news/detail/643450 และ http://www.seoftptool.com/

Figure 3.2 Impacts from drought events in Thailand, Picture Source: http://www.bangkokbiznews.com/news/detail/643450 และ http://www.seoftptool.com/

3. Earthquake and Tsunami

In the past few years, Northern and western part of Thailand, which located above earthquake fault lines, have confronted earthquake events constantly. Houses, properties and lives were lost from earthquakes, for instance, earthquake measuring 7.3 magnitudes with almost a thousand aftershocks occurred in Chiang Rai in May 5th, 2014. Earthquake does not happen only onshore, but also offshore. A large earthquake in an ocean could create very fast, large and powerful waves, called “Tsunami”, which cause a large property destruction and loss of lives onshore as it happened before in southern part of Thailand in 2004. A large and strong earthquake appeared around the north of Sumatra Island, Indonesia, which created a destructive tsunami and damaged 14 countries in the radius, including Thailand. Only in Thailand, 5,395 people were killed by that tsunami.

Figure 4.1: Impacts from tsunami across the world; Picture source: http://luxuryinthai.blogspot.com/2011_07_01_archive.htmlและ http://www.china-cloud.com/zt/zywdz/

Figure 4.2: Impacts from tsunami across the world; Picture source: http://luxuryinthai.blogspot.com/2011_07_01_archive.htmlและ http://www.china-cloud.com/zt/zywdz/

4. Infectious Diseases

Spreading of diseases, discovering new diseases, finding unseen zoonotic diseases and returning of old diseases are the results of the change in population and behavior, bacteria evolution, misused of antibiotics, the change in ecosystem and environment, and climate change. These diseases are far more complex and difficult to cure. Examples of Emerging infectious diseases are presented below.

  • Emerging infectious diseases occurred in Thailand: the pandemic H1N1 2009 influenza A, Avian influenza A (H5N1), Hand Food and Mouth disease (HFMD) cause by Enterovirus 71), and Legionellosis.
  • Emerging infectious diseases from abroad: Nipah Encephalitis, variant- Creutzfelt-Jacob disease (vCJD) caused by Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) or Mad Cow disease, Ebola Haemorrhagic Fever, Marburg Haemorrhagic Fever, Monkeypox, and diseases from Bioterrorism (such as anthrax, smallpox, etc.)
  • Old diseases reappeared in Thailand: Meningococcal Meningitis cause by serogroup W135 virus, Conjunctivitis cause by EV70 virus, Coxsackie A24, Adenovirus, etc.

 

Figure 5: Timeline of emerging infectious diseases occurrence

  • Source:

    Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (2015) Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Plan 2015. Ministry of Interior.http://122.155.1.143/upload/download/file_attach/55acacb4f1f7c.pdf

    Bureau of Emerging Infectious Diseases (2014) Trend of Emerging Infectious Diseases in Thailand. Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health.http://beid.ddc.moph.go.th/beid_2014/th/content/

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