The total number of Indian-origin people affected in the White Island eruption has increased to four.
Two more survivors of his tragic volcanic eruption have been identified as Indian origin Australian citizens Jatin Sachdeva (47) and Mohita Sachdeva (46).
Earlier the Indian Weekender has reported a US-based Indian-origin couple Pratap Singh (49) and Mayuri Singh (42) recovering in New Zealand hospitals.
Jatin and Mohita have, however, been repatriated to Australia as a part of the two-nation (New Zealand and Australia) joint plan to assist those directly impacted and their families.
Jatin is reported to be born in the Indian city of Agra, whereas Mohita is New Delhi born.
Meanwhile, the Indian Weekender has earlier reported that the Indo-American couple were recovering in one of the New Zealand hospitals. They are being supported by the couple’s New Zealand based distant relative and family members.
A small group of distant family members residing in different parts of New Zealand along with some leading Indian community organisations are currently collaborating with each other to form a support network for the injured couple.
Few close family members of the injured couple have arrived from the US to support since the Indian Weekender has first reported the story.
Speaking to the Indian Weekender, Jeet Suchdev of Bhartiya Samaj Charitable Organisation, who was coordinating efforts to form a support network for the couple in Auckland, told the Indian Weekender, “This is very tragic incident and has affected too many families and the wider community with so many deaths and injuries.”
“The news of Indian-origin couple being caught-up in this eruption is a source of further concern for our Indian community.”
“We are trying to ensure there is a community support network around the injured couple, if needed at all, to further support our Kiwi doctors and first responders,” Mr Suchdev said.
Meanwhile, the Indian Weekender had also spoken with a distant relative of the injured couple, who had chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reasons of the couple who had confirmed that the condition of the couple was stable.
Both Pratap and Mayuri have roots in the Indian state of Gujarat and are citizens of the United States.
“Pratap’s parents still live in India, whereas, Mayuri’s parents are in America,” Mr Ramesh (name changed) told the Indian Weekender.
“Their condition is stable at the moment. We have a group of distant family and group of friends from Wellington and Palmerstone North who have arrived in Auckland to support the couple,” Mr Ramesh said.
However, Mr Ramesh could not confirm with certainty about how the couple got caught up in the tragic incident, and it is just being assumed that they were also part of the cruise ship that brought most of the visitors to the White Island when it suddenly erupted at 2.11 p.m. on Monday, December 9.
The official death toll released by New Zealand authorities is eight, following two deaths overnight in the hospital, one in Middlemore Hospital and the other in Waikato. Eight others on the island are presumed dead.
Meanwhile, the office of the US Consulate General Auckland has refused to divulge any further information of the injured Indian-American couple citing privacy reasons.
Natalie Wilkins, Public Affairs Officer, at the US Consulate told the Indian Weekender, “Identification and recovery efforts are ongoing. This process is complex. Many of the victims of this natural disaster, both those in hospitals and the deceased, suffered severe injuries. The nature and extent of these injuries continue to make certainty around identification difficult.”
“Additionally, we recognise that the eruption’s victims and their families need time and space to come to terms with this tragedy and its implications. We will not be releasing any details about the victims without appropriate permissions,” Natalie said.