1,292 square feet of skin headed to New Zealand to treat volcano burn victims

WATCH: Death toll rises after volcano erupts in New Zealand (Dec. 10)

In the wake of the New Zealand volcanic eruption, dozens of victims suffered severe burns and need skin — almost 1,300 square feet of it.

According to CNN, authorities say the country is receiving an order of skin from the U.S. to help 25 people receiving care after they were wounded in the White Island eruption.

On Tuesday, officials said 27 people hospitalized have suffered burns to 30 per cent their body or more, with every burn unit in the country completely full.

Many of these victims also require breathing assistance after inhalation burns.

READ MORE: Rescuer describes horror in aftermath of New Zealand volcano eruption

“We currently have supply but are urgently sourcing additional supplies to meet the demand for dressing and temporary skin grafts,” Peter Watson of the District Health Boards said in a press conference on Wednesday.

“We anticipate that we will require an additional 1.2 million square centimetres of skin for the ongoing needs of the patients.”

Dr. John Kenealy, clinical director of surgery at Counties Makanau, said some patients’ burns covered 90 to 95 per cent of their bodies, according to USA Today.

The order of skin has already been placed and will arrive from the U.S. shortly. The country is also receiving supplies from skin and tissue banks in Australia.

The harrowing incident, which killed at least six people, has required hospitals to act quicker than usual.

Watson said the gases and chemicals involved in the eruption mean surgeries need to happen quicker for those affected by the volcanic eruption than they would for someone who suffered thermal-only burns.

For some patients, he added, the recovery process will take months.

Skin grafts come from donors who have registered to donate their skin after death, CNN reports. Grafts are usually taken from backs or the backs of legs.

READ MORE: New Zealand volcano: Photos show chaos, aftermath of deadly eruption

Two American newlyweds were among those found alive on the island.

On Tuesday, Lauren and Matt Urey were transported to separate hospitals for treatment of severe burns.

The couple hadn’t been heard from since Matt left his wife’s mom, Barbara Barham, a disturbing message detailing the harrowing situation.

The Washington Post reported that the couple’s respective hospitals informed Barham of their whereabouts shortly after they were rescued from White Island.

Matt, who was transported to Christchurch, was found with burns covering 80 per cent of his body, while Lauren, who was taken to Auckland, suffered wounds on 20 per cent of her body.


© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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