New Zealand volcano: Nation hit by more tremors as experts warn another eruption ‘likely’

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VOLCANIC TREMOR activity has increased since the deadly volcanic eruption on White Island a couple of days ago, according to the New Zealand agency that gathers volcano data, GeoNet.

VOLCANIC TREMOR activity has increased since the deadly volcanic eruption on White Island a couple of days ago, according to the New Zealand agency that gathers volcano data, GeoNet. Increased volcanic activity since 4am local time yesterday (3pm GMT, Monday), has meant the agency has issued warnings of further eruptions “likely to occur within the next 24 hours”. Alongside the tremors, the island has seen vigorous steaming and localised mud jetting in several craters made by the eruption on Monday, acting as further signs that the Island remains dangerous.

In a statement made by GeoNet last night the agency said: “We interpret these signals as evidence of continued high gas pressures within the volcano.

“The situation remains highly uncertain as to future activity.”

The statement is likely to further frustrate continued rescue attempts to the island.

The agency ultimately warned: “Eruptions in the next 24 hours are still likely to occur.”

GeoNet has maintained the volcanic alert warning for the island at ‘3’, which indicates a ‘minor volcanic eruption” is likely.

The increased activity has hampered attempts by the authorities to recover the bodies of the eight people believed to be dead on the island, two days after the eruption.

Six people were killed due to the natural disaster on Monday with another eight people still missing.

Some 33 were hospitalised for burns, and the rest are unaccounted for.

Aerial surveillance has detected no signs of life on the island, where at least one tour group was captured on automated webcams in the crater just a minute before the eruption.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had issued a heartbreaking warning following the volcanic eruption.

She said: “Police were alerted at 2.17pm (1.17am GMT).

“At this stage, and please do keep in mind this is an evolving situation, we believe around 100 people were on or around the island at the time and some of those are at this stage unaccounted for.

“I want to share this is evolving at this stage, at this stage it does appear to be a very significant issue, particularly the scale of those affected.”

New Zealand police said: “Effects of a volcanic eruption can be experienced many kilometres from a volcano.

“Be aware of the potential for ashfall. Consider staying indoors. Volcanic ash could be a health hazard, especially if you suffer from breathing difficulties. When indoors, close all windows and doors to limit the entry of volcanic ash.

“If caught in volcanic ashfalls: Wear a dust mask or use a cloth handkerchief over your nose and mouth; protect your eyes by wearing goggles. Wear eyeglasses, not contact lenses as fine ash will get under the lens.”

Amongst those affected by the eruption were two British women who are being treated in hospital.

High Commissioner to New Zealand and Samoa Laura Clarke tweeted support for the pair:

“My team are deploying to offer assistance in person, and we remain in close contact with New Zealand authorities.

“We will do all we can to help any other Brits who need our help.”

Daily tours bring more than 10,000 visitors to the privately owned island every year, marketed as “the world’s most accessible active marine volcano”.

In a statement the tour guide said: First and foremost, we would like to express our sorrow and offer condolences to those who have lost their loved ones following the eruption on Whakaari / White Island on Monday.

“At this stage, recovery of loved ones who are still on the island is of paramount concern and all of our resources including vessels, protection equipment and personnel have been made available to NZ Police and Civil Defence to support the recovery mission.”

The tour company adding “There are many questions that are left to be answered but our priority at this time is on the welfare of those affected.”

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