TODAY |

Over 1 million square centimetres of skin coming to NZ for White Island burn victims

Australia’s Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine is providing skin for the burn victims of the White Island volcano eruption, as a further 1.2 million square centimetres of skin is on order from the US.

Stefan Poniatowski, who is head of the Donor Tissue Bank of Victoria, said they’ve sent 10,000 square centimetres of skin to New Zealand today.

The Organ & Tissue donation service in Sydney has also sent 10,000 square centimetres.

The skin has been sent to the Blood Service Unit in Auckland, which will be dispatched to burn victims throughout the country.

It is donated skin from people who have died.

The skin is applied to the wounds once all the dead tissue is removed from the burns and then it is stapled down.

In a press conference today, Counties Manukau District Health Board's chief medical officer, Dr Peter Watson, said a further 1.2 million square centimetres of skin has also been ordered from America.

One person will be transported from Wellington to Australia by air ambulance tonight and more Australian patients are expected to be taken home for treatment via the Australian Defence Force in the coming days.

Six people have died so far in the disaster and eight more are still missing, presumed dead.