The role of education on disaster preparedness: Case study of 2012 Indian Ocean earthquakes on Thailand’s Andaman Coast
In this paper we investigate how well residents of the Andaman coast in Phang Nga province, Thailand, are prepared for earthquakes and tsunami. It is hypothesized that formal education can promote disaster preparedness because education enhances individual cognitive and learning skills, as well as access to information. A survey was conducted of 557 households in the areas that received tsunami warnings following the Indian Ocean earthquakes on 11 April 2012. Interviews were carried out during the period of numerous aftershocks, which put residents in the region on high alert. The respondents were asked what emergency preparedness measures they had taken following the 11 April earthquakes. Using the partial proportional odds model, the paper investigates determinants of personal disaster preparedness measured as the number of preparedness actions taken. Controlling for village effects, we find that formal education, measured at the individual, household, and community levels, has a positive relationship with taking preparedness measures. For the survey group without past disaster experience, the education level of household members is positively related to disaster preparedness. The findings also show that disaster-related training is most effective for individuals with high educational attainment. Furthermore, living in a community with a higher proportion of women who have at least a secondary education increases the likelihood of disaster preparedness. In conclusion, we found that formal education can increase disaster preparedness and reduce vulnerability to natural hazards.