Improving the Effectiveness of Emergency Risk Communication in Thailand
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For the last twenty years, Emergency Risk Communication (ERC) has become an important part of disaster management. However, many low- and middle-income countries have little best-practice guidelines about ERC because ERC is relatively new in such countries. This study examined the effectiveness of ERC practices in Thailand. Content analysis was the selected method to analyse good practices in ERC through ERC guidance, lessons learnt, reports, and academic publications. The thematic analysis was employed to develop the ERC framework of good practices criteria. The framework consisted of five key criteria of good practices including cultural, managerial, stakeholder, risk analysis, and communication channels, which were pulled from the academic literature and ERC practices globally. Each factor was further investigated by using the defined framework to provide additional insights into the gaps and good practices associated with the effectiveness of ERC in Thailand. The findings reveal that 1) cultural considerations and risk concerns are often neglected by ERC practitioners, 2) managerial issues such as policy, plan and guidance are also insufficient documents available at all level, 3) ERC stakeholders, particularly vulnerable groups, are usually ignored within ERC planning, 4) there is a lack of coordination among government agencies in the risk analysis process, which results in conflicting information, and 5) communication channels especially social media could be used to strengthen the ERC capability. The study concludes by proposing strategies to fill the gaps and strengthening ERC good practices in Thailand such as law amendment and underpinning ERC plan and guidance. These strategies are believed to potentially enhance disaster management capacity in Thailand and to that end increasing resilience in Thai communities.