Connect with us


Dr Smith warns of tsunami risk in Phuket, Andaman region



PHUKET: The man whose warnings of a possible tsunami disaster along Thailand’s Andaman coast went unheeded years before the 2004 calamity struck was in Phuket recently, urging a national assembly of school administrators to be prepared for more possible disasters in 2012.

Dr Smith Dharmasaroja, former Director of the National Disaster Warning Center (NDWC), was guest speaker for a gathering of some 2,000 secondary school directors and deputy school directors in the main ballroom at Royal Phuket City Hotel in Phuket Town on Thursday.

Speaking on the likelihood of a possible earthquake and tsunami disaster like the one that befell Thailand and neighboring countries in 2004, he urged the administrators to “be prepared but not to panic”.

“Earthquakes have occurred in many countries lately, and there is always a possibility one could hit Thailand as well. Our warning center has detected some movement from [tectonic] plates in the Indian Ocean and Andaman Sea that indicates an earthquake could happen sometime soon,” said Dr Smith.

Doctor Smith was referring to work by the National Disaster Warning Council Foundation (NDWCF), a non-government organization he set up with other retired bureaucrats after his dismissal as head of the NDWC.

Former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra installed Dr Smith as director of the NDWC after its formation in the wake of the 2004 disaster, but his authority was undermined when a subsequent government put the agency under the Meteorological Department.

After he was removed from the agency altogether, he later became a critic of its work in maintaining the tsunami early warning system he helped establish. As a result, he set up the NDWCF as a parallel organization.

“The earthquake could cause a tsunami in southern Thailand, along the Andaman coast, so the warning system should be ready at all times and everyone should always be prepared. If we maintain preparedness, there is no need to panic,” he added.

Although Thailand is not located directly on any of the major tectonic faults that comprise the “ring of fire”, there are many minor faults in Thailand, he explained.

“There are 13 such faults in Thailand. Any major earthquake that occurs in our neighboring countries could affect these faults and can cause a lot of damage,” he said.

He specified a fault zone near the Three-Pagoda Pass in Kanchanaburi province, on the Burmese border, as one of the highest-risk areas. A major tremor there could affect the structural integrity of the Srinagarindra Dam, he said.

“Our capital city Bangkok has a very high risk of suffering serious disasters. Bangkok is located on loose soil and it continues to sink every year. If a magnitude 7 to 8 earthquake were centered nearby, Bangkok could suffer severe damage,” he warned.

“Although 2012 could be a year when many natural disasters occur, I would like everyone to prepare for the worst — but not to panic about the possibility,” he told the educators.

— Warisa Temram & Stephen Fein


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Crime3 hours ago

Fans stage simulation of Tangmo’s death in protest of law activist’s defamation case

Thailand3 hours ago

Thai road sweepers get safer new uniform for work

Thailand3 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Police patrol Pattaya Beach looking for guns, booze, prostitutes

Sponsored12 hours ago

Starting a business and obtaining SMART Visa in Thailand is easy with Startup Booster

Phuket4 hours ago

4 Chinese fishermen lost at sea rescued near Phuket

Pattaya4 hours ago

Two lost children found on Pattaya’s Walking Street

Guides4 hours ago

5 underrated apps you need to use in Thailand this year

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Phuket4 hours ago

Cheeky Taoist procession spices up Phuket’s veggie fest

World5 hours ago

Avalanche strikes mountaineering team in Indian Himalayas, 4 killed

Cannabis5 hours ago

Can foreigners legally grow cannabis in Thailand?

Tourism5 hours ago

1-billion-baht tourism stimulus back on track

Thailand5 hours ago

Ordination ceremony concert goes on despite flood

Hot News5 hours ago

Flooding may impact Thailand’s tourism recovery

Road deaths6 hours ago

Young woman killed in hit-and-run in Chon Buri

Hot News6 hours ago

Myanmar youth artists hold art challenge to raise awareness of country’s plight

Entertainment6 hours ago

“One For the Road” film is Thailand’s 25th Oscar attempt

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11