Speaking to reporters, clinical leader at Whatakane Hospital, Heike Hundemer said, "once we knew the extend and severity of the casualties, I think there would have been about a hundred staff in our emergency department, acute care unit and theatres." Many of the victims of the eruption on Monday (December 9) were initially transported at Whakatane Hospital which was nearest to the site.
Hospital coordinator and duty nurse manager David Van Dijk said the situation felt surreal.
"Everyone deals with tragic events in their own way and many of those are still coming to terms with what happened," he said.
The death toll from the disaster has climbed to eight on Thursday, with two people dying in hospital.
An additional eight victims were presumed dead on island.
More than 20 people are in intensive care suffering severe burns.