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Responses to the 2011 floods in Central Thailand: perpetuating the vulnerability of small and medium enterprises?

This article investigates how the 2011 floods in Central Thailand affected small and mid-sized businesses and how successfully they have recovered. It also looks at what actions they and the state have taken to reduce their vulnerability to future floods.

Frank Thomalla / Published on 26 March 2017

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Marks, D. and F. Thomalla (2017). Responses to the 2011 floods in Central Thailand: Perpetuating the vulnerability of small and medium enterprises? Natural Hazards.

The 2011 flood was the worst in Thailand in decades. Many of the impacts occurred in the Bangkok Metropolitan Region. The floods negatively affected small and medium enterprises (SMEs). One location in which high impacts on SMEs occurred was Bang Bua Thong market in Nonthaburi Province. The aim of this article is to investigate (1) how the 2011 floods affected SMEs in the market, (2) how successfully they have recovered, and (3) what actions they and the state have taken to reduce the vulnerability of SMEs to future floods.

We found that the economic health of the market community has deteriorated since 2011 due to the damages caused by the floods, the poor state of the Thai economy, and increased business competition. The poor performance of the mayor during the event significantly contributed to the vulnerability of SMEs. So did the lack of an effective early warning system. Since 2011, the government has only made minor efforts to reduce flood risk. These have focused on building floodwalls to reduce risk to large-scale enterprises, which have redistributed risk to unprotected areas. No changes in land use have occurred, and hence, the drainage capacity of the market has improved little.

The study revealed that socioeconomic factors interacted with the 2011 flood to negatively affect SMEs, and that key political economy drivers of vulnerability of SMEs remain unaddressed. The market has not been built back better, and the sociopolitical transformations needed to reduce vulnerability have not occurred.

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SEI author

Profile picture of Frank Thomalla
Frank Thomalla

SEI Affiliated Researcher

SEI Asia

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10.1007/s11069-017-2813-7 Closed access
Topics and subtopics
Climate : Disaster risk / Water : Disaster risk
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SEI Asia

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