Last base residents displaced by storm allowed back home
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — The last powerless building was brought back on line and reopened to residents Friday, after nearly 10 days in the dark following a heavy rainstorm that caused flooding.
But Yokota’s electricity problems haven’t been solved completely, base officials said Friday.
The installation must invest in heavy-duty generators in the event of an electrical outage in the future, base commander Col. Otto Feather wrote in a statement to Stars and Stripes.
“We do not possess enough organic power generation capacity to mitigate the impact of failure of power station transformers,” Feather said. “We will need to procure power generators to allow the continuation of essential services if a similar situation arises.”
The flooding damaged smaller transformers and electrical wiring in three apartment towers, including building 4303, where power and running water were restored with a generator Friday.
Residents were told they could move back into the building but that air-conditioning units would run at only half their normal capacity until a compressor could be replaced, base spokeswoman Tania Bryan wrote in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes. It was unclear when the base would acquire a new compressor and transformer for the building and then switch off the generator.
The building has flooded at least twice in the last 40 years, and the base plans to pursue funding to remedy the problem, Feather said.
He also said the base would “further incorporate” the base’s Red Cross station into disaster-response plans.
On Monday, the Red Cross will begin training troops and civilian volunteers on emergency-response procedures. The training sessions were scheduled before the July 5 flooding and take place every few years, base officials said.
“People want to help. They just need direction,” said Mary Brasiliere, senior station manager at the Red Cross.
From shelter operations to mass feedings, the Red Cross has “the ability and the know-how” to help the base prepare for and respond to the next crisis, Brasiliere said.
For more information on how to volunteer with the Red Cross at Yokota, call DSN 225-7522.