More than $400,000 has been raised for victims of the White Island volcanic eruption that claimed the lives of 19 people and left 25 people with horrific burns.
Donations ranging from a few dollars to several hundred dollars are coming in at a steady rate on crowdfunding websites for the victims of the December 9 eruption that spewed scalding steam, rocks and ash into the air.
One family donated $220 to Jake Millbank, saying they gave up having Christmas presents to help the tour guide who turned 19 on the day of the eruption.
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• White Island eruption: Seventeenth victim dies at Middlemore Hospital
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“Merry Christmas Jake, our love and thoughts are with you and your family. This Christmas we’ve chosen to donate rather than give presents. We hope every day you have some improvements. Wishing you all the best for your recovery,” said Steph on the Givealittle page set up for the teenager.
So far, $125,347 has been raised for Millbank, who has burns to 80 per cent of his body and now reportedly breathing on his own.
A Givealittle page for a second tour guide, Kelsey Waghorn, has raised $98,562. She has been a tour guide on White Island for five years and suffered burns to 45 per cent of her body.
A GoFundMe page set up for American newly-weds Lauren Urey and her husband Matthew has raised $56,302 towards a goal of $100,000.
They suffered severe burns and in a post their families said “thank you” to New Zealand. It said they are progressing as well as could be hoped for, given the severity of their injuries.
Aaron McKendry, the organiser for the page, said their recoveries are going to take a very long time and the pair will be unable to work for the foreseeable future.
“All of your donations are going to be able to help support them throughout their long road to recovery,” he said.
A GoFundMe page set up for another American couple, Ivy Kohn Reed and Rick Reed, who are in Middlemore Hospital in an after-care unit after undergoing surgery for severe burns, has raised $27,137 towards a goal of $35,000.
The Browitt family from Australia, who lost 21-year-old daughter Krystal and father Paul and her sister Stephanie hospitalised, have had $72,985 raised for them on a GoFundMe page towards a goal of $100,000.
A Givealittle page for Sheila Cheng, an intensive care nurse at Whakatane Hospital who worked with the victims and tragically killed in a car crash on December 14, has raised $13,485.
Her husband Rhys remains in a coma in Waikato Hospital with critical injuries.
On Monday, the eruption’s 17th victim was named by overseas media as American woman Mayuri Singh.
Singh – also known as Mary – and her husband Pratap “Paul” Singh were among the 47 people on the volcano when it erupted at 2.11pm on December 9.
In the aftermath, eight people were confirmed to have died on the island, while others were rescued but died en route to the mainland.
More than 30 people ended up being treated in hospitals around New Zealand, many of them fighting for their lives. Among them were the Singhs, who both suffered severe burns and were being treated at Middlemore Hospital’s burns unit.
On Christmas eve, another victim of the eruption was named, Chris Cozad, 43, from Sydney – a devoted father of three who was on a cruise with his wife Bianca celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary.
Cozad was caught in the eruption and suffered severe burns, initially being taken to a New Zealand hospital before being repatriated to Concord Hospital in Sydney.
A GoFundMe account has raised $11,205 for Cozad.
Two people remain unaccounted for in the vicinity of White Island and are presumed dead. They are Whakatāne local and tour guide Hayden Marshall-Inman and 17-year-old Australian woman Winona Langford.
Police suspended the search for the remaining missing two people on December 24.