"When the 5.9-magnitude earthquake hit Kanchanaburi in 1983, the locals were caught off guard," Dr Weerachai Siriphanvaraphon from Mahidol University's faculty of science told a seminar.
He was speaking at a discussion titled "We Can Handle Disaster When We Understand Nature", which was held as part of the seventh Science and Technology Conference that took place at Bitec Bang Na from Wednesday until Friday.
The event was organised by the Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology to raise public awareness about natural disasters.
Weerachai explained that Thailand had many active faults that could endanger the public, though they would be unlikely to cause a massive earthquake.
Over the past few years, Thailand has faced many natural disasters, with some causing high casualties and massive damage.
For instance, the 2004 tsunami claimed thousands of lives in the South.
Dr Wattana Kanbua of the Meteorological Department said nobody had ever imagined that Thailand would be hit by a tsunami and that this lack of awareness had cost dearly.
He pointed out that the tsunami could, in fact, have been predicted and a warning issued in time.
"The 2004 tsunami taught Thailand an expensive lesson, but on the bright side, when a tsunami alert was issued in Phuket last month, the locals were quick to evacuate. The emergency response system has clearly improved, but we will need to improve further," Wattana said.
The tsunami alert was issued on April 11.
Though Wattana encourages people to be alert, he also warns against panicking over rumours, such as the one about a tsunami hitting Bangkok.
"There is a very small possibility of a tsunami occurring in the Gulf of Thailand. People should not get too scared and should not believe in rumours. They should just keep up with official announcements," Wattana advised.
Meanwhile, Deputy PM and Interior Minister Yongyuth Wichaidit established the Operation Centre for Flood, Storms and Landslides at the Interior Ministry yesterday.
In related news, the National Disaster Preparedness Day 2012 event was hosted yesterday at King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang's Faculty of Engineering to boost public awareness about increasing natural disasters and public participation in a disaster-preparedness network.
The network's efforts and experiences shared at the event would be published at www.thaiflood.com as well as via social media channels.