80 of 120 personnel have been evacuated in Roi-Namur, leaving 60 to assess damage
A clean-up operation is underway after giant waves Saturday flooded a United States military base in the Marshall Islands, in the South Pacific damaging infrastructure and forcing dozens of people to evacuate last weekend.
“On the night of January 20, 2024, a series of weather-driven waves resulted in significant ocean water inundation of the island of Roi-Namur,” said the US Army in a statement earlier this week.
It island is the second largest of the Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. They are a sprawling chain of volcanic islands and coral atolls halfway between Hawaii and Australia
US Army Garrison – Kwajalein Atoll on Roi-Namur island, where some of America’s most sophisticated space and missile tracking equipment is housed, was severely damaged.
A video that went viral on social media showed massive breakers pummelling into the US garrison, causing water to knock over bystanders, smash open glass doors, and shatter windows.
One person was injured in the event, the garrison’s spokesperson, Mike Brantley said a day after the incident.
The injured was treated for their injuries at a local clinic on Kwajalein Island. No deaths were reported.
Aerial photos showed extensive damage to the island’s infrastructure after the waves left several areas underwater.
The garrison evacuated 80 of the 120 personnel in Roi-Namur, leaving 60 to assess damage and restore basic services.
“Clearing the runway on Roi-Namur and assessing its safety is our top priority,” garrison commander Colonel Drew Morgan said in a statement. “Once the runway is open, we can move people and equipment back and forth to start the recovery process.”
It could take months to fix the damaged garrison, the US Army said after seawater swamped the accommodation, dining, transport and entertainment buildings.