Volcano at White Island, New Zealand erupts

WELLINGTON: Several people were injured at White Island in New Zealand when a volcano began erupting there on Monday (Dec 9), the region's mayor said.

The eruption began about 2.30pm local time (9.30am Singapore time) on the island, about 50km from the east coast of North Island, authorities said, throwing smoke and debris into the air.

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The White Island volcano is one of New Zealand's most active volcanoes.

"I'm not sure if these people were on the island or near it, but there was definitely one group out there and they definitely needed medical care," said Whakatane Mayor Judy Turner.

"There were some injuries and focus is on getting these injured people back safely and to get them to a hospital."

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She added that there seems to be no danger for the people in the coastal areas, farther from the volcano.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said separately that 100 people were on or around White Island at the time of the volcanic eruption, with some unaccounted for.

#WhiteIsland We are assessing the situation with @gnsscience scientific advisors to determine the severity of the threat.

— National Emergency Management Agency (@NZcivildefence) December 9, 2019

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