Two Hongkongers were reported to be missing following Monday’s deadly volcano eruption in New Zealand that had killed at least six people, even as local authorities believed there were no survivors left on the island.
But the Hong Kong Immigration Department said it had not received any requests for assistance so far and was still verifying with relevant authorities if any residents were caught in the natural disaster.
The names of a man, Chan Chi-keung, 69, and a woman, Li Shun-wa, 58, were included in a list of dozens of missing people compiled by the New Zealand Red Cross, a non-governmental organisation. The list claimed the duo were from Hong Kong.
The NGO said it had set up the website for people to register a missing person and would work with New Zealand’s police to respond to the disaster. Others could also register themselves as “I am alive” on the website.
In response to the Post’s queries, Red Cross in Hong Kong said the families or friends of the two missing persons shared the tracing information on the website, and that it had reached the New Zealand office to see if any support was needed.
“So far, the families or friends of the two missing persons have not contacted us directly for support or assistance. We will keep monitoring the situation in order to provide appropriate support to anyone in need,” said a Hong Kong Red Cross’ spokeswoman.
The Post had also contacted the Red Cross office in New Zealand to see if the list had been officially verified.
The volcano erupted in White Island in the eastern Bay of Plenty of the North Island, leaving at least six dead, eight missing and 31 tourists injured.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Tuesday that reconnaissance flights showed “no signs of life” on White Island volcano. Police confirmed that they were starting a criminal investigation into the deaths of the tourists in the disaster.
Out of the 47 people trapped on the island during the sudden eruption, 24 were tourists from Australia, nine from the United States, two from Britain, two from China, four from Germany and one from Malaysia, as well as five locals.
27 people were receiving treatment in New Zealand hospitals for burns to more than 71 per cent of their bodies.
The chief executive officer of the New Zealand Cruise Association, Kevin O’Sullivan, confirmed that 38 of the victims were passengers of Royal Caribbean’s cruise ship, Ovation of the Seas.
The Chinese embassy in New Zealand also confirmed that Chinese nationals were among those injured in the volcanic eruption, and it was still awaiting further information about the injured.
One of the six killed was a New Zealand tourist guide. The nationalities of the other five victims had yet to be confirmed.
The number of fatalities was expected to increase as many were in critical condition, said a spokesperson for New Zealand’s Ministry of Health on Tuesday.
The White Island is a famous tourist attraction in New Zealand, and visitors can explore the volcanic island by boat or helicopter.
More from South China Morning Post:
- New Zealand volcano: why White Island erupted with no warning
- New Zealand volcano: White Island death toll expected to rise to at least 13 after ‘no signs of life’
- White Island: New Zealand volcano traps tourists from China, Malaysia and US; kills 5