Prof Cherith Moses recently joined her Thai-coast project team on reconnaissance fieldwork at the project’s two study sites: Nakhon Si Thammarat Province and Krabi Province, both in Southern Thailand. The two provinces have been selected for study because they have quite different underlying geologies, population densities and social and economic characteristics. This enables the project team to investigate the vulnerability of coastal communities to climate-change induced storms across a range of conditions. The project uses a multidisciplinary approach, integrating climate science, geomorphology, socio-economics, health and wellbeing science and geo-information technology, to improve understanding of the occurrence of storm hazards, their physical and socioeconomic, health and wellbeing impacts on Thailand’s coastal zone and the ways in which governance and institutional arrangements mitigate their impact.

At each study site the project team held workshops with stakeholders and end users at the Governor’s Office of each of the two study site’s Provincial Administrative Organisations to introduce the research project, strengthen the relationship between key organisations and collect initial data to inform the project work. Participants included the Provincial Offices of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, Fisheries, Public Health, Tourism and Sport, Agriculture, Town and Country Planning, Social Development and Human Security, Industry and Health Promotion Centre.

In January this year Tropical Storm Pabuk hit the Southern region of Thailand, including one of the  project study sites, Nakhon Si Thammarat Province. The storm, thought to be the worst that has hit the region for 30 years, caused storm surges and flooding damaging houses, powerlines and transport routes. The rains triggered flash floods in several coast provinces. The Thai-coast project team examined damage caused by the storm to help inform their work on enabling increased preparedness and resilience to future such events that may become more regular as a consequence of climate change.