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Title: Shocks and Aftershocks: Lessons from Thailand and Indonesia

Shocks and Aftershocks Lessons from Thailand and
  • Lessons from the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami The
    First Annual Elisabeth and Henry Morss Jr.
  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • Woods Hole, Massachusetts USA
  • Dr. Stephen J. Atwood, MD, F.A.A. P.
  • Regional Advisor, Health and Nutrition
  • UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regoinal Office
  • Bangkok, Thailand
  • October 31 2006

Purpose of this presentation
  • To present the observations and lessons learned
    from tsunami impact and aftermath from two
    different sites -- Thailand and Indonesia.
  • To present the socio-ecological impact of the
    subsequent 28 March 2005 aftershock on the island
    of Nias off the west coast of Sumatra
  • To use the examples of earthquake / tsunami
    impact in these different settings to develop
    ideas for change in preparation for and
    mitigation of future disasters.

  • Background

Background the earthquake
  • On December 26, 2004 at 07.58 am (local time) an
    undersea earthquake occurred with an epicentre
    off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The
    magnitude of the earthquake has been measured as
    between 9.1 and 9.3 on the Richter scale.
  • The second largest earthquake ever recorded on a
  • Reported to be the longest duration of faulting
    ever observed, lasting between 500 and 600

Background the tsunami
  • The earthquake, because of the large vertical
    displacement of the seabed, generated a series of
    tsunamis moving most strongly in an east-west
    direction that hit neighboring Aceh within 15
    minutes and the south west coast of Thailand
    approximately 2 hours later.

Countries affected
  • Animation of the tsunami showing how the tsunami
    radiated from the entire length of the 1,200
    kilometer (750 mi) rupture. National oceanic
    and atmospheric administration, 30 December 2004

The wave that hit Aceh
  • Early estimates were of a 30-foot wave.
  • Later Researchers found evidence of waves as
    high as 24 m (80 ft) when coming ashore along
    large stretches of the coastline, rising to 30 m
    (100 ft) in some areas travelling inland.
  • The waves average velocity on shore was 45 feet
    / second.

Moore, Tsuji Seattle Post Intelligencer 07
February, 2005
The wave that hit Thailand
  • Photo David Rydevik, Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Ao Nang, Thailand. 26 Dec 2004

  • Preconditions and
  • Vulnerabilities

Preconditions and Vulnerabilities
  • Thailand The highly visible
  • Economy in the Phuket area formerly based on
    rubber trees, tin mining, and fishing. But
    soaring land prices due to tourism have pushed
    other industries out.
  • After opening of Phuket International Airport in
    1976, tourism has become the primary economic
    force. Managed by Thais but requiring
    (seasonally) large numbers of laborers from other
    parts of Thailand and from neighboring countries.
  • A healthy infrastructure with health care
    (including emergency obstetric facilities),
    roads, water, and sanitation.

Preconditions and Vulnerabilities
  • Thailand and the invisible
  • The need for inexpensive labour to serve the
    hospitality, agricultural, construction, and
    fishery industries.
  • Easier access of migrants to Thai shores
    long-standing co-dependency.
  • 73,000 migrant workers were reportedly registered
    for work in the tsunami-affected provinces
    beginning in July 2004 considered a significant
    underestimation since many were unregistered.

Preconditions and Vulnerabilities
  • Aceh Province, Indonesia Open
  • Aceh Province was considered the entry point for
    Islam into Indonesia and the rest of Southeast
    Asia (c. 700- 800 CE).
  • Aceh was never under the formal control of
    colonial Netherlands. Since Indonesian
    independence granted by the UN in 1949 was from
    the Dutch, the Acehnese felt betrayed by the UN
    resolution that included them in the new
    Indonesian Republic.

Preconditions and Vulnerabilities
  • Aceh Province, Indonesia Open
  • A socio economic stronghold in the 1970s and
    1980s with abundant international aid,
    multinational experts and multinational
    investment. During that period, infrastructure
    was developed, and social services improved.
  • Between 1990 2001, the once-rich province
    became one of the slowest growing with poverty
    levels rising from 1.8 (1989) to 30 (2001).
    (ref. ISEAS, May 2003)

Preconditions and Vulnerabilities
  • Aceh Province, Indonesia and closed.
  • The separatist movement started in 1976 with the
    formation of Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (GAM) or Free
    Aceh Movement but did not have impact until 1990s
  • Security crackdowns in 2001 and 2002 resulted in
    several thousand civilian deaths with human
    rights abuses on both sides government feared
    parallel with the independence of Timor Leste and
    the separatist movements in Papua.
  • Many higher-educated and better off Acehnese
    began leaving the Province in 2000.

Preconditions and Vulnerabilities
  • Aceh Province, Indonesia and closed.
  • Access for international humanitarian and human
    rights agencies were severely restricted by
    Indonesian government after 2003.
  • A nutrition survey done in Aceh Province in Feb
    March 2005 found an unacceptably high level of
    undernutrition in children and women in both
    areas affected and unaffected by the Tsunami,
    which indicated a problem that existed before the

Preconditions and Vulnerabilities
  • Geography and Terrain
  • Indian Ocean Tsunami a part of the Alpide Belt of
    volcanic and seismic activity, the second most
    active in the world.
  • However, no history of large tsunami in the
    Indian Ocean since Krakatoa erupted (1883).
    Hence, as distinct from the Pacific Ring of
    Fire (which includes northeastern Indonesia,
    Hawaii, and the West Coast of USA), no early
    warning system for tsunami in the Indian Ocean.
  • With few exceptions, early warning signs (e.g.,
    recession of the sea) were curios rather than
    cautions. Children and tourists explored the
    vast areas of exposed beach.

Sea recession - Thailand
  • Maximum recession of tsunami waters at Kata Noi
    Beach, Phuket, Thailand, before the 3rd, and
    strongest, tsunami wave (sea visible in the right
    corner). (26 December 2004)

Preconditions and Vulnerabilities
  • Geography and Terrain
  • The high-rise resorts of Phuket and the proximity
    of the mountainous interior offered more
    protection than the bungalow architecture and
    flatter geography of dwellings and resorts north
    of the city.
  • The east-west orientation of the tsunami hit more
    than 800 km of coastal area on the west coast of
    Sumatra, obliterating the port and city of Calang
    (pop. 14,000) and the port and much of the city
    of Meulaboh (pop. 120,000).

Preconditions and Vulnerabilities
  • Timing
  • First wave hit Aceh at approximately 0800 am
    local time and the southwest coast of Thailand
    approximately two hours later on a Sunday.
  • Schools were closed and children were at home or
    playing on the beach. (In Thailand, many schools
    were on higher ground farther from the ocean.)
  • In Thailand, much of the fishing fleet was on
    shore in Aceh, fishermen were at sea, leaving
    behind women and children.
  • Markets were closed.
  • It was the height of the tourist season in
    Thailand (Phuket alone has an estimated 35,000
    visitors a day over 4 million tourists arrived
    in Phuket in 2002.)

Preconditions and Vulnerabilities
  • Summary
  • Thailand Growing economy since the 1980s with
    improving social services and a burgeoning
    tourist industry however, not yet addressing its
    migrant problem.
  • Aceh A society that was once thriving but on
    the decline since 1990 due to conflict,
    isolation, and centralized economic
    mismanagement deteriorating social services,
    flight of the educated classes.

  • The Aftermath and its consequences

Ban Nam Khen, Thailand Photo
S.J. Atwood 01 Jan 2005
Ban Nam Khen, Thailand, Photo S.J. Atwood,
01 Jan 2005
Ban Nam Khen, Thailand,
Photo S.J. Atwood,
01 Jan 2005
Ban Nam Khen, Thailand,
Photo S.J. Atwood, 01
Jan 2005
Village near the coast of Sumatra , January 2,
2005. Photo P. McDaniel, US Navy.
Photo SOURCE Amir, Aceh Besar
Photo UNICEF, Banda Aceh
Photo UNICEF, Banda Aceh, 02 Feb 2005
Photo Joerg Meier, Aceh Besar
PhotoMichael Elmquist, OCHA, Aceh Besar
Photo UNICEF, Banda Aceh
Photo Joerg Meier, Aceh Besar
Photo UNICEF, Aceh
Photo S.J. Atwood, Banda Aceh
(No Transcript)
(No Transcript)
Country wheredeaths occurred Deaths Deaths Injured Missing Displaced
Country wheredeaths occurred Confirmed Estimated Injured Missing Displaced
Indonesia 130,736 167,736 -- 37,063 500,000
Sri Lanka 35,322 35,322 21,411 -- 516,510
India 12,405 18,045 -- 5,640 647,599
Thailand 5,395 8,212 8,457 2,817 7,000
Myanmar 61 400-600 45 200 3,200
TOTAL (plus all countries) 184,168 230,210 125,100 45,752 1.69 mill
UN Office of the Special Envoy for Tsunami
Recovery Joint One-Year Report, December, 2005
UN Office for the Special Envoy for Tsunami
Recovery Joint One Year Report, December 20052
The Aftermath
  • Thailands Social Costs
  • lt50 schools hit by the tsunami, and only 12 of
    them seriously damaged. (UNICEF, 14 Jan 2005)
  • Schools re-opened on schedule, 1st week of
    January, 2005. Attendance 50. (UNICEF, 14 Jan
  • Very limited damage to Health Sector facilities
    4 health clinics in coastal villages and islands
    were severly damaged or destroyed. (Asian
    Disaster Preparedness Centre, 2005 CDC, MMWR, 28
    Jan 2005)

The Aftermath
  • Thailands Social Costs
  • An estimated 2,500 Burmese workers went missing,
    although there appears to have been no concerted
    effort to track missing migrant workers by the
    Thai authorities so this number is an
  • Many children of migrant workers were denied
    access to primary health care services. (SJA,
    personal observations, Jan 2005).

The Aftermath
  • Thailands Social Costs
  • The Thai Ministry of Public Health (MOPH)
    responded with rapid mobilization of local and
    nonlocal clinicians, public health practitioners,
    and medical supplies assessment of health-care
    needs identification of the dead, injured, and
    missing and active surveillance of diesease.
  • None of the 10 hospitals had been damaged by the
    tsunami all had activated previously rehearsed,
    written mass casualty plans. (CDC, MMWR, 28 Jan
  • As of January 19, 2005 a total of 7,423 survivors
    had sought psychiatric help (MOPH, unpublished
    data, 2005).

and its Consequences
  • In most cases, Thailands well-orchestrated
    response along with unprecedented public
    donations and relatively easy access contributed
    to rapid relief and recovery for the Thai
  • However, coordination of relief organizations and
    management of unregulated donations represented a
    major challenge (e.g., food went rotting, no
    monitoring of quality)
  • The sudden visibility of unexpectedly high
    numbers of migrant workers and their families who
    fell outside of the Thai recovery process drew
    international attention to a long-simmering
    problem that Thailand has been compelled to deal

The Aftermath
  • Acehs Social Costs
  • 500,000 Internally Displaced Persons in camps or
    relatives homes.
  • 592 Hospitals, health centres destroyed or
  • 2240 Primary, secondary schools destroyed
  • 10,124 Water sources destroyed or damaged
  • US 5.8 billion tstimated total financial need
    for long term recovery
  • 5266 Doctors, Health Workers, Teachers and
    Government workers were among those dead.

and its Consequences
  • The restricted access to Aceh led to an almost
    2-day delay in reaching affected areas for
    assessment and relief (which explains why the
    first reports noted only 200 2000 dead).
  • Eventually, however, the Tsunami and the
    overwhelming humanitarian response opened up
    access to areas previously inaccessible.

and its Consequences
  • The deaths of doctors, health workers, teachers
    and government workers have contributed to a
    significant loss of leadership and skill in the
  • As the Province opened up, it became obvious that
    these workers because they were Government
    employees -- were also the target of the
    separatist militants in the North and Northeast
    contributing to a wide-spread loss of human
    resources. Many were killed or displaced.

and its Consequences
  • The uneven loss of womens lives (as high as 41
    in some areas) has changed the entire social
    structure of Aceh.
  • The Acehnese, because of the prevalent belief
    that the tsunami was a punishment for their lack
    of faith, instituted Shariah Law, a consequence
    of which is the formation of a para-legal
    organization of Shariah Police that operates
    outside of the legal system and is occasionally
    in conflict with the outside relief

and its Consequences.
  • The Government and GAM agreed on a cease-fire and
    ultimately a peace accord in August 2005 ending
    29 years of conflict. Negotiations re-opened
    after the tsunami.
  • Ironically, the 2004 tsunami may have rescued
    Aceh from a dangerous downward economic and
    development curve. Massive and unprecedented
    relief has brought jobs, the potential for
    economic recovery, and peace to this formerly
    war-torn and backward district.

  • The Special Vulnerability of Children

Children in Aceh and Thailand
  • Unable to run as fast not as strong ability to
    swim possibly a factor.
  • An added burden to at least one parent both
    were more likely to die.
  • More susceptible to disease after the emergency
    low immunization rates of migrant children in
    Thailand and of most children in Aceh tetanus a
    problem in Thailand.
  • All vulnerabilities enhanced by undernutrition
    in Aceh 43 girls/ 45 boys underweight 9.2
    girls / 10.4 boys severely undernourished
    UNICEF Aceh Nutrition Survey, Feb-Mar 2005
  • Experience shows that there are those waiting to
    exploit separated childrens increased

The Special Vulnerability of Children in Aceh and
  • Protection from physical harm 1/3 of victims
    were children ( 50,000 dead)
  • Protection from exploitation and gender-based
    violence (unknown no reported cases of
    traficking, but no denominator in Aceh or Phuket
    sporadic cases of sexual abuse)
  • Protection from Recruitment into armed groups
    (note Acehnese children had been witness to or
    participants in armed conflict for at least 10

The Special Vulnerability of Children in Aceh and
  • Protection from Psychosocial distress (unknown,
    but between 5-10 of survivors of traumatic
    events have persistent Post-traumatic Distress
    Syndrome requiring psychiatric counselling.)
  • Protection from abuse related to forced
    displacement (up to 500,000 families displaced
    forced to live in camps or in host families)
  • Protection from family separation (up to 2800
    children were separated from families or
    orphaned more women then men killed)

Photo UNICEF, Aceh, 16 May 2005
  • The Aftershock Nias earthquake

Background Nias Earthquake
  • On March 28, at 1109 pm, a magnitude 8.7
    earthquake hit the west coast of Sumatra half way
    between the islands of Nias and Simileu.
  • Considered an aftershock of the December 2004
    earthquake, as it was on the same fault.
  • Approximately 1300 deaths, mainly on Nias.
  • 85 of all structures in the northern capital
    Gunungsitoli were destroyed.
  • Nias already a marginalized and poor society
    because of geographic and social remoteness.

Nias Earthquake social and economic toll
  • Researchers found the earthquake was associated
    with uplift of up to three meters over a
    400-kilometer stretch of the Sunda megathrust
    (Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Science,
    March 2006)
  • The uplift on Hinako Islands and Sirombu port on
    the west coast of Nias led to profound social and
    environmental changes killing of coral reefs,
    loss of ports and jettys, change in fishing
    habits, decrease in water table with subsequent
    exhaustion of wells and water sources.
  • With a crumbling economy, poor water supply,
    persistent fear, many have left the islands.

Uplift on Nias Island
The Port at Hinako - before
Photo Channa Seneratne, LEAP
The Port at Hinako -- after
Photo S.J. Atwood, Feb, 2006
The Port at Hinako -- after
Photo S.J. Atwood, Feb, 2006
The Port at Hinako -- after
Photo S.J. Atwood, Feb, 2006
  • Analysis and Summary

Five Major Take-home Points
Examples The undernutrition found in women and children in Aceh after the tsunami enhanced their susceptibility to infectious diseases surveys showed that the problem pre-dated the disaster. The marginalised community in Nias has taken the longest to recover since the aftershock in March. Migrant workers in Thailand, denied access to public services before the tsunami, were the hardest hit by the crisis. Unimmunised children most vulnerable. The poorer members of society are those now left in barracks and tents in Aceh.
  • Point 1
  • Disasters lead to an exaggeration of previous
    inequities, enhancing the vulnerability of the
    most-vulnerable, i.e., children and women.
  • Therefore, development programmes must be an
    integral part of disaster preparedness and

Five Major Take-home Points
  • Examples
  • It was impossible to assess early needs in Aceh
    as the number of families, demographic data,
    infrastructure was not known. As a result,
    supplies were either over- or under-estimated
    location of populations were difficult to
    identify, and percentage affected was impossible
    to estimate as the denominator was not known.
  • Ironically, the same was true of Thailand because
    of the invisible migrant population. Estimates
    of dead and missing, lost children and separated
    families were hindered if not impossible to make.
  • Point 2
  • Immediate response to an emergency is (almost)
    independent of place or situation e.g., food,
    water, shelter, child protection are needed in
    almost all cases.
  • Immediate assessment and planning, however,
    require knowledge of baseline data demographic,
    economic, social including health, nutrition,
    education, and infrastructure including water and

Five Major Take-home Points
  • Examples
  • Socio-economic differences began to appear in
    Aceh after the first months of relief. The
    entrepreneurial class had already opened up
    businesses, inventories were restocked, loans
    were secured where needed.
  • For the poor teetering on the brink before the
    tsunami all was lost they required more
    assistance in identifying and accessing services
    and employment. They can be lost from the
    beginning, however, as beneficiaries are
    identified in the early days and remain the same.
  • Point 3
  • At the onset of a disaster, most families are
    equally needy, but not all are equally
  • In planning a medium and long-term response it
    is important to identify those who are most

Five Major Take-home Points
  • Examples
  • During the July 2006 earthquake (7.7) and smaller
    tsunami in central java, 500 people perished.
    Many of them walked out to see what was causing
    the receding waters.
  • The story of Tilly Smith in Phuket.
  • Disaster planning in the Indian Ocean had been
    mainly for earthquake and volcano, not for
    tsunami since it had happened so rarely.
  • Thailand put into practice a well-rehearsed
    crisis management plan.
  • Point 4
  • Lessons learned are not really learned until they
    are put into action. Education and messages
    must be strengthened by rehearsal and evaluated
    for effect.
  • People planning for disasters are usually
    planning according to the last disaster. There
    needs to be more imaginative thinking about the
    unexpected and unpredictable.

Five Major Take-home Points
  • Examples
  • The massive influx of foreign experts into Aceh
    who were uneducated in the culture or history of
    the province led to tensions and conflict and
    delayed progress.
  • In Thailand, the response was led by Thais some
    of them local, using expertise from other
    international and national agencies.
  • The same paradigm of community ownership has been
    used for successful development projects the
    world over. We should apply them to disaster
    preparedness, response and mitigatoin.
  • Point 5
  • There is a need for a new paradigm for the
    involvement of communities in their own response
    to disasters.
  • A model is needed where local people, respected
    and empowered as survivors and not diminished as
    victims, regroup and reconstruct their own
    lives using available resources.

Photo S.J.Atwood, IDP Camp, Nias Island, Dec 2005
not victims
Photo S.J.Atwood, IDP Camp, Nias Island, Dec 2005