Critical infrastructure

The physical structures, facilities, networks, and other assets, which provide services that are indispensable to the social and economic functioning of society, and which are necessary for managing disaster risk.


1. Well-designed critical infrastructure normally prevents the creation of secondary risks that may result from environmental degradation as an outcome of service provision such as infrastructure for safe sanitation.

2. "Criticality" is dependent on scale and context. For example, a wind turbine may be considered critical in a community that relies on it as a sole source of electricity, but it might be a choice where multiple sources of electricity generation are available.

3. Services provided by critical infrastructure may be referred to as "Critical services".

4. Critical infrastructure includes what is essential (indispensable) for the functioning of a system during an emergency or disaster situation or other crisis situation.

5. See also "Basic infrastructure".


Modified from UNDRR Sendai Framework Terminology on Disaster Risk Reduction (2023)


Reference for Note 4: CISA

Failure of electrical grid due to heatwaves in Argentina (2022)

In mid-January 2022, the Southern Cone faced a severe heatwave which made the region the hottest place on earth while it lasted, from 10 January 2022 to 26 January 2022. It affected the countries of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. On 11 January 2022, temperatures in Argentina’s capital city, Buenos Aires, reached 41.1°C, the second highest maximum in its recorded history. During the heatwave, electricity consumption was above 28,000MW, a new national record. Edenor and Edesur, electricity distributors in Buenos Aires and the Greater Buenos Aires area reported power outages as energy demand soared, to cool homes and businesses. The blackouts affected over 700,000 users.

To avoid further blackouts, the government requested the industrial sector to reduce demand and decreed teleworking for public employees for the remaining days of the heatwave. The outage also affected drinking water supplier AySA, which asked the population to optimize water use due to lack of adequate electricity required for water purification.


Source: Raszewski, E. (2022, January 11). Argentina capital hit by major power outage amid heat wave. Reuters. Retrieved on February 20, 2023.