Monster Waves Hammer Marshall Island Army Base, Flooding Multiple Buildings

By Victor Winston, updated on January 22, 2024

A ferocious wave, measuring between 3 and 4 feet, wreaked havoc on Roi-Namur island's Army base in the Marshall Islands, causing extensive flooding and displacing personnel.

A combination of wind, tides, and an offshore storm swell led to the unexpected inundation of the Army dining hall and other facilities on the evening of January 20th.

On that Saturday night, the wave broke through doors with significant force, sending people tumbling and scrambling for safety. The dining hall on Roi-Namur was particularly hard hit, with personnel caught unawares by the sudden deluge.

Evacuation Ensues Amidst Darkness and Chaos

Amid the chaos, the base's power supply was cut, plunging the area into darkness. This further escalated the panic as individuals struggled to find their footing and safety in the blacked-out facilities.

Despite the severity of the situation, there were no reports of serious injuries, a fact highlighted by Erik D. Hanson, who shared a video on Instagram capturing the incident's aftermath.

As the wave swept through the base, individuals grabbed onto furniture, with some climbing atop objects to escape the rising waters. The scene described by eyewitnesses paints a picture of quick thinking and survival instincts in a crisis.

Army Confirms Flooding, Announces Evacuation

The U.S. Army confirmed the incident in a statement the following day, acknowledging the significant flooding, particularly on the northern side of Roi-Namur island. The statement, released on Sunday, January 21st, detailed the emergency measures taken in response to the wave.

Following the flooding, non-mission essential personnel were evacuated from the island, indicating the severity of the situation and the need for immediate safety measures.

Erik D. Hanson, in his Instagram post, shed light on the cause of the incident. He explained that a unique combination of natural factors contributed to the formation of the massive wave that struck the base.

Freak Wave: A Rare Natural Occurrence

Hanson attributed the wave to a confluence of wind, tides, and swell direction stemming from an offshore storm. This rare combination created the conditions necessary for the wave's unexpected size and impact.

Aside from the immediate effects on Roi-Namur, the event also affected surrounding areas. Two airports on the Ailinglaplap Atoll experienced flooding, likely leading to weeks of closure.

Erik D. Hanson confirmed in the Instagram video's caption that, fortunately, no one was seriously injured. He explained that the unusual waves were caused by a mix of wind, tides, and swell direction resulting from an offshore storm. Additionally, the U.S. Army stated on Sunday that a sequence of weather-induced waves struck Roi-Namur, leading to considerable flooding in the island's northern areas around 9 PM on January 20.

Fortunately, there were no fatalities reported on Roi-Namur or the neighboring islands. However, moderate damage was reported, indicating the wave's substantial impact on the community and infrastructure.

Aftermath: A Community Recovers

The incident on Roi-Namur island serves as a stark reminder of the power of natural forces and the vulnerability of even the most prepared communities. In the following weeks, recovery and rebuilding efforts will likely focus on repairing the damaged infrastructure and supporting affected individuals.

The closure of two key airports on the Ailinglaplap Atoll further underscores the widespread impact of the wave, affecting transportation and connectivity in the region.

The unexpected wave that struck Roi-Namur island on January 20th, caused by a rare combination of natural factors, led to significant flooding, evacuations, and moderate damage to infrastructure. While there were no serious injuries or fatalities, the event serves as a reminder of the unpredictability of nature and the need for continual preparedness and resilience in the face of such challenges.

About Victor Winston

Victor is a freelance writer and researcher who focuses on national politics, geopolitics, and economics.

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