New Zealand Volcano Too Dangerous for Recovery Efforts
Eight bodies are still believed to be on the volcanic island
Photo Lillani Hopkins via AP
White Island, which erupted on December 9, 2019, is still too dangerous for rescue and recovery efforts. Due to recent seismic activity, the probability of another eruption is between 40% to 60%.
47 tourists were visiting the volcano when it erupted. Of those, six have died and many others received severe burns are being treated in multiple hospitals throughout New Zealand. This was reported by the New York Times.
Even without the possible threat of a new eruption, the island is unsafe to visit. Toxic fumes are present in the air and the ash covered ground is too unstable and dangerous to walk on.
Deputy Commissioner John Tims of the New Zealand police expressed frustration that recovery efforts had been delayed for a second day but said that the risks were just too great.
“My intent is absolutely to return to that island, those families and friends absolutely deserve closure and I’m going to work really hard to make that happen,” he said, according to the Times, referring to the effort to recover the bodies.
Over 20 victims are Australian and Prime Minister Scott Morrison is sending several Air Force planes to take them back to Australia. Other victims have come from New Zealand, China, Germany, Malaysia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
White Island, also known by its Maori name Whakaari, is a popular tourist destination with roughly 10,000 people visiting annually. Prior to the eruption, the threat level was raised from 1 to 2 on a scale of 5. After the eruption, it was raised to 4 and currently is at 3.
Many people are questioning why tourists were allowed on the island when the level was raised. The government is considering an investigation into that question, which could have a negative impact on tour operators to the island.
|Source||The New York Times|