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  1. Extreme weather events have significant economic and social impacts, disrupting essential public services like electricity, phone communication, and transportation. This study seeks to understand the performance and resilience of critical infrastructure systems in Houston, Texas, using Hurricane Harvey (2017) as a case study. We surveyed 500 Houston Metropolitan Statistical Area residents after Hurricane Harvey’s landfall about disruption experience in electricity, water, phone/cellphone, internet, public transportation, workplace, and grocery stores. Our household survey data revealed the proportion and duration of disruption in each system. Approximately 70% of respondents reported experiencing electricity outages, while half (51%) had no access to water for up to six days. Two-thirds of surveyed households lacked internet access, and 50% had their phone services disconnected. Additionally, around 71% of respondents were unable to commute to work, and 73% were unable to purchase groceries for their families during this period. We incorporated the household survey responses into the Dynamic Inoperability Input-Output Model (DIIM) to estimate inoperability and economic losses across interconnected sectors. The projected economic loss was estimated to be in the range of $6.7- $9.7 billion when sensitivity analysis is performed with respect to the number of working days. Understanding the resilience of each sector and the inherent interdependencies among them can provide beneficial insight to policymakers for disaster risk management, notably preparedness and recovery planning for future events. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 20, 2024
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  3. Abstract

    Critical infrastructures are ubiquitous and their interdependencies have become more complex leading to their uncertain behaviors in the aftermath of disasters. The article develops an integrated economic input–output model that incorporates household‐level survey data from Hurricane Sandy, which made its landfall in 2012. In this survey, 427 respondents who were living in the state of New Jersey during Hurricane Sandy were used in the study. The integration of their responses allowed us to show the probability and duration of various types of critical infrastructure failures due to a catastrophic hurricane event and estimate the economic losses across different sectors. The percentage of disruption and recovery period for various infrastructure systems were extracted from the survey, which were then utilized in the economic input–output model comprising of 71 economic sectors. Sectors were then ranked according to: (i) inoperability, the percentage in which a sector is disrupted relative to its ideal level, and (ii) economic loss, the monetary worth of business interruption caused by the disaster. With the combined infrastructure disruptions in the state of New Jersey, the model estimated an economic loss of $36 billion, which is consistent with published estimates. Results from this article can provide insights for future disaster preparedness and resilience planning.

     
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  4. We examined whether floods and cyclones, the shocks that are transient in nature, affect interregional migration differently compared to riverbank erosion that causes loss of lands and thus generates permanent shocks. We tracked Household Income and Expenditure Survey 2000 participants in nine coastal districts of Bangladesh and collected further information in 2015. Our analyses suggest that both transient and permanent shocks induce households to migrate, but the effect is higher for the latter category. Using a difference-in-differences setting, we find that migrants’ income and expenditure increase relative to their counterparts, indicating that facilitating migration may improve welfare in disaster-prone countries. 
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  5. Neighborhood effects have an important role in evacuation decision-making by a family. Owing to peer influence, neighbors evacuating can motivate a family to evacuate. Paradoxically, if a lot of neighbors evacuate, then the likelihood of an individual or family deciding to evacuate decreases, for fear of crime and looting. Such behavior cannot be captured using standard models of contagion spread on networks, e.g., threshold, independent cascade, and linear threshold models. Here, we propose a new threshold-based graph dynamical system model, 2mode-threshold, which captures this dichotomy. We study theoretically the dynamical properties of 2mode-threshold in different networks, and find significant differences from a standard threshold model. We build and characterize small world networks of Virginia Beach, VA, where nodes are geolocated families (households) in the city and edges are interactions between pairs of families. We demonstrate the utility of our behavioral model through agent-based simulations on these small world networks. We use it to understand evacuation rates in this region, and to evaluate the effects of modeling parameters on evacuation decision dynamics. Specifically, we quantify the effects of (1) network generation parameters, (2) stochasticity in the social network generation process, (3) model types (2mode-threshold vs. standard threshold models), (4) 2mode-threshold model parameters, (5) and initial conditions, on computed evacuation rates and their variability. An illustrative example result shows that the absence of looting effect can overpredict evacuation rates by as much as 50%. 
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  6. Data from surveys administered after Hurricane Sandy provide a wealth of information that can be used to develop models of evacuation decision-making. We use a model based on survey data for predicting whether or not a family will evacuate. The model uses 26 features for each household including its neighborhood characteristics. We augment a 1.7 million node household-level synthetic social network of Miami, Florida with public data for the requisite model features so that our population is consistent with the survey-based model. Results show that household features that drive hurricane evacuations dominate the effects of specifying large numbers of families as \early evacuators" in a contagion process, and also dominate effects of peer influence to evacuate. There is a strong network-based evacuation suppression effect from the fear of looting. We also study spatial factors affecting evacuation rates as well as policy interventions to encourage evacuation. 
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