For the past few weeks, Peru has been the home of political unrest, with protests taking over the country. Since former president Pedro Castillo was removed from office and imprisoned, facing an impeachment trial, his supporters have been taking over the streets, turning them in the scene of violent demonstrations.
The riots have gravely impacted movement around the country, 5 airports closing down last week in the face of incoming attacks. Trains and busses across the country also stopped operating, cutting access to popular tourist locations like Machu Picchu, and leaving travellers stranded.
Peruvian authorities and PeruRail, the country’s operator for the south and southeast regions, which also serves links to the Inca citadel, are working to evacuate the isolated tourists. PeruRail announced it is introducing emergency trains to and from Machu Picchu, apologising for the interruptions “caused by a situation beyond the control of our company”.
Before the reopening of rail connections, Darwin Baca, Machu Picchu’s mayor, told CNN he had requested helicopters to evacuate the approximatively 300 stranded tourists. “The municipality, through the Tourism Unit, carries out the necessary coordination for the selection and prioritization of children and vulnerable people for the transfer on humanitarian flights, work that has been carried out in coordination with the National Police and the district Health Center”, the Municipal District of Machu Picchu said in a statement on Friday.
“With this objective, we are coordinating with the Municipality of Machu Picchu to ensure the proper boarding of people on these trains, prioritizing the care of the elderly, people with health conditions and families with children”, the PeruRail said in a statement.
The rail operator also ensured bus connections from Piscacucho to the city of Cuzco, where the Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (CUZ) has reopened, according to Peru’s Ministry of Transport and Communications (MTC). The MTC also informed that it coordinated with law enforcement to establish all the security guarantees so that passengers, air operators, crew and the entire aviation community can travel peacefully.
The Civil Aeronautics Directorate reported that travellers who need to go to the airport and are in the localities where curfew hours are in force, due to the state of emergency, must present their travel ticket as a safe-conduct to be able to circulate on public roads without problems. MTC also indicated that work is being done to reopen the Arequipa Airport, the country’s largest in the south region.