Thai Buddhists’ Encounters with International Relief Work in Post-tsunami Thailand

  • Monica Lindberg Falk
Part of the Contemporary Anthropology of Religion book series (CAR)


On December 26, 2004, six provinces in southern Thailand were hit by the tsunami that swept throughout the region; 29 subdistricts and 69 villages were affected. The tsunami was a unique catastrophe: it affected Thai people from several ethnic groups, illegal immigrants from neighboring countries, poor people from other parts of Thailand, affluent tourists from many countries abroad, and people of all ages. The population in the coastal areas was multiethnic, and many of those who were directly affected by the tsunami were poor fishing families and migrant workers. Some Thai coastal villages were totally destroyed, and many of those who survived lost their homes, families, friends, and neighbors. A large number of children lost their parents. The catastrophe changed the lives of more than 50,000 people. According to the Thai government’s official statistics, there were 8,327 dead or missing and about 8,500 people injured. There are still hundreds of people missing. These figures do not include many migrant workers from other countries who worked in Thailand without proper documents and died in the tsunami. Oxfam reported that more women than men died in the disaster. Among the Thai who died, 54.8 percent were female and 45.2 percent were male.1


Migrant Worker Disaster Relief Relief Work Relief Operation Temporary Shelter 
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Copyright information

© Hiroko Kawanami and Geoffrey Samuel 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Monica Lindberg Falk

There are no affiliations available

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