New Zealand volcano death toll rises to 20

Steam rises from the White Island volcano following the December 9 volcanic eruption, in Whakatane on December 11, 2019. – The smoldering New Zealand volcano that killed at least six people is still too dangerous for emergency teams to recover bodies from, police said on December 11, warning that many tourists who escaped the island were so badly burned they were not yet out of danger. (Photo by Marty MELVILLE / AFP)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AFP) — The death toll from the White Island volcano eruption in New Zealand has risen to 20, following another death more than a month after the tragedy, police said Monday.

The toll includes two people whose bodies have not been recovered.

“Police can confirm a further person died in an Australian hospital last night as a result of injuries suffered in the White Island eruption,” deputy commissioner John Tims said.

The person, whose identity was not released, is the second to die in hospital in Australia.

There were 47 people, mainly Australian tourists, on the island when the volcano erupted on December 9 and many were coated in burning ash and steam.

Doctors have said a quarter of a million square centimeters (38,750 square inches) of skin has been used so far to try to save the lives of the injured.

© Agence France-Presse