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Whakaari/White Island Eruption

10 December 2019

The Funeral Directors Association of New Zealand (FDANZ) has today released announcements following the Whakaari/White Island eruption.

“We were shocked to hear the news about the eruption and our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have lost loved ones or have not been able to contact them” says FDANZ President Gary Taylor. “FDANZ has already started preparations to support those impacted by this terrible tragedy” Taylor said, “Our District Chair has been in touch with local members and we have activated the NZ Funeral Disaster Response Team”.

FDANZ in partnership with the New Zealand Embalmers Association (NZEA) funds and operates the NZ Funeral Disaster Response Team. This team is led by Simon Manning of Harbour City Funerals who co-ordinated the funeral sector response to both the Christchurch earthquake and the mosque attacks in March this year.

“We have contacted members and are preparing to provide any support necessary.” Manning said. “The situation is an evolving one but may involve a large number of people who have lost their lives”.

The NZ Funeral Disaster Response Team provides technical support and advice to ensure that the loved ones of families are cared for with respect and dignity. “The location and nature of the event will make this a challenging deployment” Manning said, “with difficult recovery and then the likelihood of burns injuries which will require special treatment.”

FDANZ has also been in contact with the Australian Funeral Directors Association (AFDA) to ensure smooth communication for repatriations. “With reports of a number of Australians being on Whakaari/White Island at the time of the eruption, we have the added complexity of international repatriations to manage as well” Manning said.

FDANZ will provide updates on the deployment of the NZ Funeral Disaster Response Team. “We don’t know what will be required at this stage and will work with the Police and Coronial Service in any way that they see fit” says Taylor, “We have also put in place support for our members who will be caring for grieving families.”


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