New Zealand to import 1.2 million sq cm of skin for volcano victims

Six were killed in Monday's eruption

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

New Zealand has ordered 1.2 million sq cm of skin to treat people who suffered severe burns in a volcanic eruption on Monday.

The country is importing the skin from the United States as surgeons give round-the-clock care to 29 burns victims caught up in the eruption on White Island.

It will be used for skin grafts required to treat injuries sustained from toxic volcanic gases.

A number of victims have burns on 95 per cent of their bodies, with the majority sustaining burns on 40 to 50 per cent of their bodies.

There are 22 people on airway support due to burns affecting their lungs.

Surgeons estimate 500 hours of operations will be required to treat the victims.

The human body has around 20 sq ft of skin in total, with the palm of a hand accounting for 1.5 per cent of a person's skin.

A total of six people have been confirmed dead following the volcanic eruption, and the bodies of a further eight are thought to still be on the island.

Survivors described how tourists were forced to run into the sea to escape the clouds of thick black ash and scalding vapour.

White Island, also known by the Maori name Whakaari, is the tip of an undersea volcano 30 miles off the coast.

Scientists had noted an increase in volcanic activity in recent weeks, leading to questions as to why tourists were still being allowed on the island.

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