The following message has been provided by the families of Matt and Lauren Urey (Barham) who were injured in the Whakaari/White Island eruption:
We first want to give our sincere condolences to the families and friends of those who did not survive this tragic event; our thoughts and prayers are with you.
There are no words to express how horrible this has been for everyone involved, but we are very lucky and grateful that although Lauren and Matt are severely injured, they're still with us.
From the moment we were notified of the eruption, we have received nothing but support from everyone here in New Zealand. The list of people we want to thank is endless, but we especially want to recognise the healthcare professionals working with Lauren and Matt who have done an incredible job dealing with an unprecedented situation, and we are eternally grateful to them for helping to save our loved ones.
We also want to thank the generous, kind, and caring people of New Zealand who have offered to help in every way possible, the Police Department who have dedicated a team of wonderful individuals to help us in whatever way they can, and the American Consulate for their continued support.
Regarding Lauren and Matt's condition, we will not be giving specific information out of respect for their privacy. They are progressing as well as could be hoped for given the severity of their injuries, but they both have a tremendously difficult and long road to recovery ahead of them.
We ask that you continue to send positive thoughts and prayers their way; they need them.
A GoFundMe page has been created by some of Lauren and Matt's close friends. We support that effort and are asking for continued donations as both of them will be out of work for an extended period of time.
This has been a difficult time for everyone involved, but New Zealand is an amazing country with amazing people who have helped us more than we could've ever hoped for.
We want to wish everyone a happy Christmas and New Year.
The Barham and Urey family
(Note to Media: The family of Lauren and Matt Urey are not available for further interviews or comment.)