Which consequences matter in risk analyis and disaster assessment?

Jessica Boakye, Colleen Murphy, Paolo Gardoni, Ramesh Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Extreme events (like earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires) can create significant physical damage to structures and infrastructure, downtime and business interruptions, economic losses, and casualties. The assessment of the consequences of past extreme events and the prediction of the consequences of future extreme events has typically focused on these types of consequences. However, the consequences of extreme events typically exceed these more immediately evident consequences. The societal consequences are complex and multi-faceted, affecting financial, economic, and physical aspects of individual well-being such as psychological trauma, missed work and school opportunities. Yet due to restrictions on time and resources, not every possible consequence of an extreme event can be included in risk analysis or impact analysis. To assess the societal impact of extreme events, it is critical to first determine which consequences should be considered (measured for disasters and predicted for hazards.) This paper develops a comprehensive list of which consequences need to be considered. We provide a theoretical justification for the list by adopting a capability approach for extreme event consequences. The list of consequences is meant to go beyond the traditional metrics of infrastructure damage and downtime. We show how the developed list incorporates the diverse insights of recent work expanding the consequences of extreme events. The proposed list is general and can be used within different assessment approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102740
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • Capabilities
  • Extreme events
  • Infrastructure
  • Societal impact
  • Well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Safety Research


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