Damage in critical infrastructures due to natural and man-made extreme events - A critical review

Alon Urlainis, Igal M. Shohet, Robert Levy, David Ornai, Oren Vilnay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Critical Infrastructures (CIs) play a crucial role in the normal performance of economy and society. Over the last decades the amount and the variety of CIs grew rapidly, and the interdependency between them increased constantly. Consequently more and more essential services depend on the continuous performance of one, two or even more CIs such as power supply, communications, etc. It is thus of utmost importance to ensure reliable and robust performance of critical infrastructures on a continuous basis, particularly during and after the occurrence of extreme events. This paper presents a state-of-the-art review of the contemporary state of critical infrastructures' preparedness, through a comprehensive literature review of significant extreme events that occurred in the past two decades. This paper examine the Oklahoma bombing (1995), the Izmit earthquake (1999), the World Trade Center attack (2001), the Indian Ocean tsunami (2004), hurricane Katrina (2005), the London July 7th attacks (2005), the Haiti earthquake (2010), and the Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear disaster (2011). The review exposes insufficient preparedness of CIs in cases of extreme events and raises several root patterns which led to the severe consequences of the extreme events: a gap between the preparedness of the CIs to the actual risk; higher than expected consequences due to evolution of critical infrastructures; high and increasing interdependencies between the CIs, and high vulnerability of critical infrastructures despite the known risk. The consequences of those events reveal a mismatch between the actual risk to the CIs and between the investments that were made by decision makers for their preparedness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)529-535
Number of pages7
JournalProcedia Engineering
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014
Event2014 Creative Construction Conference, CCC 2014 - Prague, Czech Republic
Duration: 21 Jun 201424 Jun 2014


  • Critical infrastructures
  • Extreme events
  • Preparedness
  • Risk

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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