60 years later, the impact of nuke tests continues to haunt Marshall Islands

By Pacific Island Times News Staff

The nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands ended over six decades ago, yet its communities continue to grapple with the after-effects and many of its islands remain unsafe for resettlement, according to Marshall Islands National Nuclear Commission.

“Multiple generations within families throughout many Marshallese communities are facing health challenges that we are ill-equipped to address,” the commission said in a statement commemorating the UN General Assembly’s declaration of Oct. 24-30 as Disarmament Week 43 years ago.

The commission noted that while the Nuclear Claims Tribunal has partially awarded some of the compensation claims, most of the victims remain unpaid.

In a 2019 report, the commission said the initial funds from the United States to pay islanders impacted by nuclear testing was about $150 million administered through a tribunal to compensate for property and personal damages from the testing.

The United States tested 67 nuclear weapons in the Marshall Islands from 1946 to 1958. With the Able nuclear test on July 1, 1946, the United States fired the opening salvo in one of the worst tragedies in the nation's history.