Merit, gender, and Theravāda Buddhist practices in times of crisis
This narrative is from a long-term anthropological research project carried out in coastal villages in the south of Thailand. The aim of this study is to explore how Thai Buddhist survivors use Buddhism in the recovery process after the tsunami catastrophe in 2004. On December 26, 2004, the Indian Ocean tsunami hit the shores of 13 countries, and almost 230,000 people lost their lives. In Thailand, about 10,000 people died or went missing, and approximately 8,500 people were injured. Six provinces in Thailand were hit by the tsunami. My research project concentrates on Phang Nga province, where 69 villages were directly affected by the tsunami, which totally destroyed some of them.