Apple News Facebook Twitter 新浪微博 Instagram YouTube Friday, May 10, 2024

New Zealand holds ceremony to commemorate victims in deadly White Island volcanic eruption

(Xinhua)    13:53, December 09, 2020

WELLINGTON, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand held a ceremony on Wednesday afternoon to pay tribute to the victims one year on after the deadly White Island volcanic eruption.

On December 9, 2019, the White Island volcanic eruption killed 22 people and injured further 25 people.

The ceremony event was taking place at the Mataatua Wharenui, a local Maori hall in Whakatāne, which is the nearest town to White Island at the eastern Bay of Plenty region in the North Island of New Zealand.

A minute's silence was observed at 2:11 p.m. local time, marking the exact moment when the tragedy happened.

Governor-General of New Zealand Dame Patsy Reddy, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Whakatāne Mayor Judy Turner were present at the ceremony.

Reddy said in her speech that the 9th of December was a dark day in New Zealand history and also in the family histories of visitors from Australia, Britian, United Sates, Germany, China and Malaysia.

"To the families of the 22 people who lost their lives as a result of the Whakaari (White Island) eruption, I extend my deepest condolences on behalf of all New Zealanders," said Reddy.

In her speech, Ardern said that the eruption was devastating, coming at a time when the nation had already experienced so much loss and pain in recent times.

"This was an extraordinarily challenging event and I know it affected everyone personally and deeply," said Ardern.

"I say to those who have lost and grieve, you are forever linked to this place and our nation and we will continue to hold you close."

Messages from the victims' families who could not attend were read out at the event.

A public service was also held at the same time at a nearby reserve.

Earlier on Wednesday, a dawn service was held in Whakatāne to remember those who died or injured. Local Maori tribe also facilitated the dawn service at Whakatāne Heads.

New Zealand's workplace safety watchdog WorkSafe has laid criminal charges against 10 organizations and three individuals related to the deadly White Island volcanic eruption.

Each of the 10 organizations faces a fine up to 1.5 million New Zealand dollars (1.06 million U.S. dollars), and the three individuals, who are the owners of the island, each faces fines up to 300,000 New Zealand dollars.

The White Island, a volcanic island in New Zealand's North Island, is a famous tourist attraction which people can explore by boat or by helicopter, but after the eruption all tourist trips to the island have been suspended by the authorities. The volcano has erupted many times in recent years.

GNS Science, New Zealand's geoscience research service provider, and the National Emergency Management Agency are among the 13 parties facing charges. The details of the charges are still not available.(1 U.S. dollar = 1.42 New Zealand dollar)

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wen Ying, Bianji)

We Recommend

Most Read

Key Words