Power outages, extreme events and health: a systematic review of the literature from 2011-2012

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Power outages were found to impact health on different levels, with recurring themes being that following a power outage healthcare services and frontlines services become difficult to access. Current evidence and knowledge on the topic was assessed to be of overall poor quality.

This systematic review identified 20 articles that discussed extreme events that led to power outages during the first three months of 2013. 52 power outages occurred as direct consequence of extreme events during 01/01-31/03/2013 in 19 countries. Power outages impact healthcare on different levels from first call for help to giving clinical treatments. Knowledge gaps remain specifically regarding quantifying health impacts in terms of morbidity, mortality, quality of life. It is crucial to address gaps in knowledge as it is predicted that climate change will lead to an increase of extreme events in both frequency and magnitude.

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