Death toll rises to eight in New Zealand volcanic eruption

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Death toll rises to eight in New Zealand volcanic eruption
Wellington: Two more people died overnight in hospital following the volcanic eruption on White Island, New Zealand, bringing the death toll to eight, local police said in a statement Thursday morning.

“One was being treated at Middlemore Hospital and one at Waikato Hospital. Police remain focused on supporting families at this terrible time,” said the statement.

Forty-seven people were on White Island at the time of the eruption on Monday, Xinhua news agency reported.

Police said Wednesday morning that the volcanic eruption had already caused six deaths and eight missing, with thirty people being treated in seven hospitals across New Zealand. Twenty-five of the injured were in critical condition.

Two Chinese nationals were among those injured in the volcanic eruption on White Island in the Eastern Bay of Plenty of New Zealand’s North Island, according to the Chinese Embassy in New Zealand.

Chinese Ambassador to New Zealand Wu Xi visited a Chinese national injured in the volcanic eruption in a North Island hospital on Wednesday afternoon.

Wu conveyed condolences to the injured on behalf of the Chinese government. She said the embassy will try its best to handle emergency response and consulate protection, and coordinate with the New Zealand authorities so that Chinese citizens are timely and effectively treated.

The injured Chinese visitor expressed gratitude to the consular staff for the visit.

The other injured Chinese was treated in another hospital and was also visited by Chinese diplomats in New Zealand.

Ashley Bloomfield, director general of the New Zealand Ministry of Health, said at a press conference on Wednesday that the national multiple complex burn action plan had been activated. Many of the injured tourists are said to have more than 30 percent of body burnt.

White Island is a famous tourist attraction in New Zealand. People can explore the volcanic island by boat or by helicopter. If safety conditions permit, visitors can even enter the main volcano crater.

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