New Zealand volcano ERUPTS: Is your New Zealand holiday affected? Latest FCO advice


NEW ZEALAND saw a massive volcano eruption this morning which left at least five dead and several unaccounted for. Is your New Zealand holiday affected and what is the latest FCO advice?

A massive volcano eruption on White Island in New Zealand has killed at least five people. Up to two dozen people are still missing after the country’s most active volcano exploded at 2.11pm local time.

Is it safe to travel to New Zealand?

Travelling to most areas of New Zealand is as safe as it was before the volcano eruption.

However, White Island remains in unstable conditions with toxic gases and ash in the area.

Also known as its Maori name Whakaari, White Island is located in the Bay of Plenty, approximately 30 miles from the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand.

The nearest mainland towns are Whakatane and Tauranga.

The civil defence authority warned the situation was hazardous “in the immediate vicinity of the volcano”.

After the eruption the police blocked streets close to the sea, and the MetService weather agency warned pilots to avoid the area.

The conditions on the island, however, have prevented rescue team from searching the island.

The current alert level is set to three on the four-scale system.

As for the rest of New Zealand, travel to other islands and the mainland is unaffected.

The FCO advice read: “New Zealand is currently suffering a measles outbreak concentrated in Auckland, with 596 cases reported there as of 22 August.

“Measles is a highly infectious and potentially life-threatening viral illness.

“It has been most common this year in those aged 20-29 years. See the TravelHealthPro website for more information on the outbreak and vaccine recommendations.

“If you’re visiting remote areas of New Zealand, make sure your journey details are known to local authorities or friends/relatives before setting out.

“Weather conditions can quickly become treacherous, especially in winter.

“Terrorist attacks in New Zealand can’t be ruled out.

“There’s no British representation on the Cook Islands, or the islands of Niue or Tokelau. You should contact the New Zealand High Commission if you need consular assistance on the Cook Islands or Niue.

“If you need consular assistance on Tokelau, contact the British High Commission in Wellington.”

White Island volcano latest

A no-fly zone is in effect over the island but police had got close “to the shore”, John Tims, the deputy police commissioner of district operations.

He added: “The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island.”

Mr Tims said based on the fatalities and conditions on the island, the death toll would probably climb.

The police commissioner said: “The island is currently covered in ash and volcanic material.

“We are taking expert advice with regards to the safety of any rescue attempt.”

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said there were “a number” of tourists on or around the island, both from New Zealand and overseas.

She said: “I know there will be a huge amount of concern and anxiety for those who have loved ones at the island at that time – and I can assure them police are doing everything they can.

Police said 23 people had been rescued, but warned the number of dead was “likely” to rise.

About 10,000 people a year visit the volcano with around 50 thought to have been on the island as it erupted.

The last time White Island erupted was in 2016, in which no one was hurt.

Geological hazard trackers GeoNet had registered moderate volcanic unrest on the island for weeks before Monday’s eruption.

Is it safe to travel to New Zealand?

White Island volcano latest


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