Keywords: risk perception, older persons, elderly, evacuation decisions, typhoon risks, risk assessment, Thailand, rural communities, emergency management, threat responses, assistance, appropriate shelter, evacuation procedures
Typhoon risk perceptions and evacuation decisions of older persons: a case study of a rural community in southern Thailand
This study assesses the capacity and limitations of persons aged over 60 years old in responding to typhoon threats. A qualitative ethnographic approach supported by a quantitative survey was conducted among 114 residents aged from 60 to 100 years in one rural community. The findings reveal that the elderly have high risk perceptions, which were expressed as a heightened fear of a typhoon. Preparing the mind and body to cope with typhoon uncertainty was a common practice. The response to the threat of a typhoon was perceived as a self-responsibility. The decisions to evacuate were based on their intuition and the availability of assistance. Despite the high level of intention to evacuate, major influences on actual evacuation action were the typhoon characteristics, social actors such as family members and neighbours, and an evacuation order. The study concludes that older persons need assistance, appropriate shelter and a safe evacuation process when confronted by a typhoon threat.