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Cascades have emerged as a new paradigm in disaster studies. The high level of dependency
of modern populations on critical infrastructure and networks allows the impact of
disasters to propagate through socio- economic systems. Where vulnerabilities overlap
and interact, escalationpoints are created which can create secondary effects with
greater impact than the primary event. This article explains how complexity can be
categorised and analysed in order to find those weak points in society that enable
cascading impacts to develop. Scenarios can be used to identify critical dependencies
and guide measures designed to increase resilience.Experience suggests that many potential
impacts of cascading disasters remain uninvestigated, which provides ample scope for
escalation of impacts into complex forms of crisis.
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