The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) of New Zealand tweeted that the eruption was "hazardous in the immediate vicinity of the volcano". NEMA has called on people to "act promptly" on upcoming safety advice from local authorities.
A volcanic eruption is occurring at White Island and is hazardous in the immediate vicinity of the volcano.— National Emergency Management Agency (@NZcivildefence) December 9, 2019
#WhiteIsland Detailed safety advice will come from local authorities and emergency services in the area. Act on it promptly.— National Emergency Management Agency (@NZcivildefence) December 9, 2019
According to local media, a rescue operation is underway, with several rescue helicopters on the way to the island.
Netizens have shared webcam photos near the island as well as satellite imagery capturing the moment of the eruption.
Image 1: 11:50am today crater lake at White Island— Vanessa Immink (@vanimmink) December 9, 2019
Image 2: 3:00pm today crater lake at White Island
Huge differences in lake height. pic.twitter.com/yttOpQztk4
Quite the eruption for sure. #NewZealand (darker adjusted to show right side of eruption zone.) White Island - shortly after the actual eruption. Source camera here: https://t.co/e5qk2HmmiS pic.twitter.com/Ht6DBMBmJm— AI6YR (@ai6yrham) December 9, 2019
White Island eruption was also visible on satellite images. ^AJ pic.twitter.com/Cx4LYHr9Ie— MetService (@MetService) December 9, 2019
The Himawari-8 satellite captured the White Island eruption from space on Monday afternoon. pic.twitter.com/BML42iOss8— NIWA Weather (@NiwaWeather) December 9, 2019
New Zealand police have urged people to avoid the area.
🚨 AVOID WHAKATANE HEADS/MURIWAI DRIVE 🚨— New Zealand Police (@nzpolice) December 9, 2019
Police are urging the public to avoid the Whakatane Heads and Muriwai Drive areas while emergency services respond to an eruption at White Island.
Muriwai Drive will be closed from Harvey Street.
Located in the Bay of Plenty - approximately 48 km from the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand - Whakaari, or White Island, is New Zealand's most active volcano.