Description: The December 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami wrecked thousands of lives, homes, and livelihoods - losses that could have been avoided with timely and better information. A resource such as information is needed at a fundamental level much like water, food, medicine, or shelter. This dissertation examines the development of the Thai information society, in terms of the share of information workforce and the level of diffusion of information and communication technologies (ICT), as well as, the role of the Thai information society in response to the tsunami disaster. The study combined the historical and political economy analyses in explaining factors influencing the growth of information workforce and the development of ICT in Thailand. Interviews conducted in 2007-08 revealed the Thai information society responded to the 2004 Tsunami - the first global internet-mediated natural disaster - in two areas: on-site assistance in collecting and recording identification information of tsunami disaster victims and on-line dissemination of disaster relief information. The effectiveness of ICT institutions in providing the tsunami disaster relief efforts and increasing the development of the information society were assessed using statistical procedures analyzing the perceptions of the Internet-based survey respondents. The disaster effects on survey respondents were also assessed. The study's findings include: (1) the Thai information sector development pattern confirmed a key difference between development patterns of information sectors in developed and developing countries, (2) the increasing number of Thai information workers was due more to the expansion of government than the expansion in the manufacturing and service sectors during the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis, (3) Thailand's expansion of ICT infrastructure was influenced not only on the basis of economic profitability but also by political desirability, and (4) volunteers were crucial in humanitarian aid and disaster relief.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Aswalap, Supaluk Joy