All the tourists stranded at the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru by heavy rains and flooding have now been rescued by Peruvian military and police helicopters. Among the last to leave was a group of Brazilians.
According to the Brazilian embassy in Lima, there were no deaths or injuries among the Brazilians. However, some ten people did lose their lives in mudslides. Many others were left homeless and there was heavy damage to agriculture in the area.
The last Brazilian out was a diplomat, the vice consul at the embassy, João Gilberto. He had arrived at Machu Picchu on Wednesday, Jan 27, to provide assistance to the Brazilian tourists in the area – a total of 278 of them.
A Brazilian Air Force cargo plane went Saturday to the area with some 14 tons of food. It has now returned to Rio de Janeiro with 68 Brazilians aboard. The rest of the Brazilian tourists will return on commercial flights or just continue their travels.
According to Agência Folha, the Brazilians said they had information that American and Japanese tourists paid up to US$ 500 to get preferential treatment in the rescue effort.
“In the beginning of the rescue effort they were giving preference to Americans and Japanese and only later they started to take care of others. There was a group of Brazilians literally fighting with the Peruvian police to prevent people from cutting in line, paying to board the helicopter,” informed Rio’s lawyer Flávia Almeida de Faria, adding:
“We heard they were charging US$ 500 per person to get out. We also have information that all the guests of a luxury hotel in the region were paid and rescued first.”
The Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism of Peru, Martin Perez, had disclosed last week that some “bad officials” had demanded money for the rescue of the tourists who were stranded by landslides and floods caused by the heavy rains that hit the Cuzco region.
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