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Disaster Management for Critical Infrastructure

The increasing complexity and interconnectedness of energy, telecommunications, transportation and financial infrastructures pose new challenges for secure, reliable management and operation. No single entity has complete control of these multi-scale, distributed, highly interactive networks, or the ability to evaluate, monitor, and manage them in real time. Historically, primary emphasis in disaster management has been placed on the performance of inhabited structures, the failure of which would pose direct risk of life loss or injury. As understanding of secondary disaster damage and indirect economic losses improves it becomes evident that survival and rapid recovery of networked infrastructure service systems is critical to reducing the impacts of both natural and technological disasters.

The project will provide tools for evaluation of critical infrastructure vulnerability and
approaches to risk reduction. A general characterization of complex network systems will be provided as well as the framework for analysis of vulnerability of such systems. Reference will be made to recent experience of critical infrastructure failure in disasters in both developed and developing countries. Distinction will be made between the opportunities for risk reduction in the design and construction of new systems and those available for risk reduction in the retrofit of existing systems.

Social and economic consequences of critical infrastructure failure will be illustrated from various disaster events and approaches to estimation of direct and indirect losses from infrastructure service failure will be discussed. Expected scale and distribution of losses related to infrastructure failure will be related to costs of strengthening and other strategies for risk reduction.

Because critical infrastructure systems in disaster-prone developing countries are often the subject of international investment and lending, standards of design, construction, maintenance and operation should be introduced and maintained as routine practice. While many infrastructure systems have been owned and managed in the public sector there is a strong movement toward privatization and reduction of public regulation. Maintenance of appropriate standards of reliability for critical services poses new challenges in market economies. The balance of public interests in reliability of service (Including disaster survivability) and market pressure to reduce price is problematic.