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Photos show flood damage at the US military base in the Marshall Islands

Photos show flood damage at the US military base in the Marshall Islands

A Kwag resident shows her support for the displaced individuals from Roy Namur, affectionately called Roy Rats.
US Army Garrison-Kwajalein Atoll/DVIDS

  • Weather-triggered waves inundated Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands on Saturday.
  • The US Army garrison base on the island of Roi-Namur was flooded.
  • A widely circulated video of the flood shows the doors of a local bar collapsing due to flash flooding.

A storm surge on Saturday sent rogue waves into the South Pacific, flooding a U.S. Army facility in the Marshall Islands.

The U.S. Army's Kwajalein Atoll Garrison and Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site of the U.S. Space and Missile Defense Command operate on Roi Namur, the second largest island in the Kwajalein Atoll, about 2,000 miles from Hawaii.

The pictures show significant damage to the facilities of the base, which is inhabited by about 120 people, as a result of the sudden waves.

'Get out of here'

The Café Roy dining facility was heavily flooded during the storm.
US Army Garrison-Kwajalein Atoll/DVIDS

Shocking viral video Heavy floods took over the US military base around 9pm on Saturday.

A wave of water smashed through the front doors of a local restaurant, The Outrigger Bar and Grill, flooding the building and causing some people inside to lose their feet beneath the waves.

Eric Hanson, a diving instructor in the Marshall Islands, posted the video on Instagram, saying the flooding was caused by “a combination of wind, tides and wave direction.”

A voice can be heard in the video saying, “Get out of here,” before the lights in the building go out.

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Rogue waves

The storm tossed containers across Rui Namur.
US Army Garrison-Kwajalein Atoll/DVIDS

The floods appear to be caused by rare “rogue waves.” CNN meteorologist Robert Shackelford. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration describes the rogue wave as “steep with unusually deep troughs,” and reports say it looks like “walls of water.”

“The impacts of these waves are also being felt more strongly across low-lying islands, including the Marshall Islands,” Shackelford said, adding that the climate crisis is raising sea levels, which in turn exposes more areas to storm surge.

Aerial view of the damage

Aerial photo showing widespread flooding in the central part of Roi-Namur.
US Army Garrison-Kwajalein Atoll/DVIDS

Aircrews assessed damage on the island from above, and posted a video on the base's Facebook page showing water inundating the northwest side of Roi Namur.

At least a third of the island was covered in water.

Underwater buildings

The machinery maintenance shop in Roy-Namur was flooded and rendered inoperable.
US Army Garrison-Kwajalein Atoll/DVIDS

Water covered the runways, and buildings — including base housing, dining facilities, an outdoor theater, a military retail store, and a church — were damaged in the flood.

The entire car warehouse complex also remains under water.

ROI recovery process

The tower of the Roi-Namur church stands on the coral-fringed grounds across from the Tradewinds Theatre.
US Army Garrison-Kwajalein Atoll/DVIDS

in The video was posted on Facebook Colonel Drew Morgan, US Army garrison commander at Kwajalein Atoll, said on Monday that the northern point of Roi Namur was hit by a “series of unexpected giant waves” that caused “significant damage” and some minor injuries.

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About 80 people were evacuated from the island after the surge. A team of 60 people remains to continue assessing the damage and begin restoring facilities.

“Decontaminating the runway at Roy-Namur and assessing its safety is our top priority now that we have evacuated personnel not required for initial response efforts,” Morgan said in a statement. “Once the runway is open, we can move people and equipment back and forth to begin the recovery process.”

“We are showing the world that we are truly one team.”

Kwajalein Atoll Commander, Colonel Drew Morgan, welcomes evacuees from Roi Namur to Kwajalein Atoll.
US Army Garrison-Kwajalein Atoll/DVIDS

Recovery efforts could take “months or even years” to complete, Morgan said, as crews continue to assess damage over the weekend.

“This will go down in the Quagge history books as one of the most challenging times ever in its 80-year history,” he said.

He continued: “Remember that we are important to the security of our nation, and this is our homeland.” “We are showing the world that we are truly one team.”

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