Plume of ash, steam from Whakaari at 2.30pm today - Photo / Geonet
A massive plume can be seen following an eruption at Whakaari, also known as White Island in the Bay of Plenty.
At 2.15pm this afternoon, the volcano exploded with concern at the time for people in the island's vicinity.
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has issued a national warning for a moderate volcanic eruption. (4.05pm NZT)
A moderate volcanic eruption is occurring at White Island and is hazardous in the immediate vicinity of the volcano.
NEMA says ashfall may impact areas distant from the volcano and that people should stay out of designated restricted zones.
People living in or near the affected ashfall areas should:
- 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.
- Listen to the radio and/or TV for further assessment and updates.
- Effects of a volcanic eruption can be experienced many kilometres from a volcano.
. @geonet have provided an updated Volcanic Alert Bulletin stating ash falls appear to be confined to #WhiteIsland and they do not expect more than a minor amount of ash to reach East Cape in the coming hours.https://t.co/XKDtTnHE04— National Emergency Management Agency (@NZcivildefence) December 9, 2019
Detailed safety advice will come from GNS Science, NEMA advise people to act on it promptly.
The National Warning will remain in effect until a cancellation message is issued by the National Emergency Management Authority.
White Island eruption was also visible on satellite images. ^AJ pic.twitter.com/Cx4LYHr9Ie— MetService (@MetService) December 9, 2019
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed that a search and rescue operation was underway and that Police have urged the public to avoid the Whakatāne Heads and Muriwai Drive areas.
🚨 AVOID WHAKATANE HEADS/MURIWAI DRIVE 🚨— New Zealand Police (@nzpolice) December 9, 2019
Police are urging the public to avoid the Whakatane Heads and Muriwai Drive areas while emergency services respond to an eruption at White Island.
Muriwai Drive will be closed from Harvey Street.
More details to come.