On the morning of 26 December 2004 large\ud areas of coastal southern Thailand were\ud transformed when a tsunami, generated by\ud a powerful submarine earthquake in the Indian\ud Ocean, swept ashore. Officially, there were 5395\ud confirmed deaths in Thailand with another 2932\ud people listed as missing.\ud In February 2005 a team led by Dr Ben Horton\ud of the University of Pennsylvania was awarded an\ud SGER grant by the National Science Foundation to\ud undertake exploratory research on the tsunami in\ud Malaysia and Thailand. This report summarizes the\ud preliminary conclusions of the social science\ud element of the Thai fieldwork. The team undertook\ud fieldwork in three main sites during July 2005: Koh\ud Lanta, Koh Phi Phi and Khao Lak. We chose Koh\ud Phi Phi as a small, tourist (backpacker)-oriented\ud island economy with high levels of damage and\ud casualties; Koh Lanta as a site with a significant\ud population of fisherfolk with a long presence in the\ud area; and Khao Lak as a mainland site with the\ud highest number of casualties in Thailand and with\ud a mixed tourism-fishing economy
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