New Zealand police confirmed that the death toll due to the volcanic eruption on White Island (Bay of Plenty) that occurred on Monday, December 9, has risen to 15 as of Saturday, December 14. Police officials also confirmed that search and rescue operations to retrieve two missing persons are still ongoing as of Sunday, December 15. At least 27 additional individuals are being treated for burns as of Sunday.
Officials at New Zealand's Geological Science institute (GNS) issued a statement at 11:30 (local time) on Sunday, lowering the risk of a further eruption on White Island in the next 24 hours to 30-45 percent. Further eruptions are still possible in the coming hours and days.
A volcano erupted on White Island at approximately 14:11 on December 9. Reconnaissance flights over the area have revealed no signs of life.
Individuals present in the affected area are advised to avoid the vicinity of the volcano, monitor the situation, adhere to any instructions issued by the local authorities (e.g. evacuation orders), and wear respiratory masks and covering clothing to protect skin from ashfall. Individuals traveling to/out of White Island are advised to anticipate flight disruptions.
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