White Island eruption: 18th victim confirmed dead

The death toll following the Whakaari/White Island eruption has now climbed to 18.

"Police can confirm a further person died in an Australian hospital last night as a result of injuries suffered in the Whakaari/White Island eruption," says Deputy Commissioner John Tims, Police National Operations Commander.

"The death of this person brings the official number of deceased to 18, 16 of whom died in New Zealand and two in Australia."

It's been one month after the disaster and the 24 surviving victims still require 24-hour care in hospital.

Paul Quinn, the chair of Ngāti Awa holdings which owns White Island Tours, visited the wounded at Auckland's Middlemore Hospital last Thursday.

He told RNZ he spent time with the parents of tour guide Jake Milbank - who has already undergone several operations and went through another on Thursday.

"They're holding up, it's obviously a very testing time for them. It's going to be quite a long process, in terms of both the number of operations Jake will need and the recovery thereafter."

In order to dress the victims' burns, enough skin to cover 14 human bodies has been transplanted.

Most of it comes from the recently deceased, however in a stunning sign of generosity living Kiwis have offered to donate their own skin. 

"People have even volunteered to donate skin from themselves while living. We discussed that with the burns surgeons and that was technically going to be very difficult to facilitate, but that's the level of generosity that we see," New Zealand Blood Service clinical director for tissue banking, Richard Charlewood, told RNZ.

RNZ / Newshub