Peru continues rescuing stranded tourists in landslides-hit resort town

16:54, January 29, 2010      

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At least 600 tourists stranded by landslides were evacuated on Thursday from the southeastern Peruvian town of Aguas Calientes and the rescue efforts will continue, according to the country's Minister of Trade and Tourism Martin Perez.

The evacuation of tourists was conducted through 36 helicopter flights between Aguas Calientes, also called Machu Picchu, and Ollantaytambo.

Perez said that if weather conditions remained favorable, more tourists would be rescued.

So far, more children and people aged above 50 have been rescued, but there are still more than 1,000 tourists left, most of them from Latin America.

Transport Minister Enrique Cornerjo said that in the next two days the remaining tourists in the locality and other buildings of Aguas Calientes would be rescued. Meanwhile, some 50 tourists have built sand walls against the flood along the Vilcanota River.

Cornejo said that there were enough helicopters, controlled by the Peruvian police through air traffic controllers. The air traffic controllers will ban those flights that charge 500 dollars for the evacuation of tourists.

"I'm determined to prosecute these paid flights", Perez said, predicting that the number of people stranded by landslides and the damaged railroad between Machu Picchu and Ollantaytambo because of the heavy rains, could increase as more tourists continue to arrive from the Inca Trail.

Perez also said that local authorities were responsible for the disorganized rescue efforts in the area. Enditem

Source: Xinhua
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