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Cross-sectoral and multi-risk approach to cascading disasters

Presentation by Gianluca Pescaroli (University College London)

This is an excerpt from the launch webinar of the National Disaster Risk Assessment Words into Action Guidelines. The guidelines focus on Sendai Framework’s first Priority for Action: Understanding Disaster Risk, which is the basis for all measures on disaster risk reduction and is closely linked to the other three Priorities for Action.

From utilities to the internet, over the last two decades technological networks have increased in interdependency and level of integration with society. They have also become more unstable and their behaviour has become harder to predict. Critical infrastructure (CI) is defined as those assets or systems that are vital to maintaining the socioeconomic functions of society. It is also an essential pillar that supports the provisions of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

CI can be conceptualized as nodes in the built environment that group together physical, functional and organizational attributes. With the increased complexity of the built environment, the definitions and sectors have evolved in concert with one another. They incorporate lifelines for the delivery of resources and services, essential sites for communities, and assets such as chemical plants, which are potentially vulnerable to hazards.

A causal chain generates secondary disasters from the interaction between anthropogenic and ecological systems. Despite major efforts by the international community, many challenges are still present in efforts to mitigate such phenomena. For example, current risk management strategies are insufficient for estimating the probability of rare events and coincidences, and for understanding cascades and event trees. To improve the operational management of complexity, a system-wide approach to resilience is needed that embraces new forms of analysis, new methods and new tools . Cascading disasters and risks present substantial challenges both to citizens and to the emergency management community.

Related Links


  • Themes:Critical Infrastructure, Risk Identification & Assessment

  • Short URL:http://preventionweb.net/go/56761

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