Page last updated at 08:22 GMT, Sunday, 31 January 2010

Peru flooding: Your stories

Flooding in Peru. Picture: Judith Daniello
Flooding in Peru. Picture: Judith Daniello

Up to 3,000 homes have been destroyed following heavy rains in Peru.

The Peruvian authorities have airlifted some people to safety but many people are still waiting. Flood water has closed roads and railway lines.

Hundreds of tourists visiting the Inca site of Machu Picchu and locals have been left stranded. Some of them have been telling the BBC News website about their ordeal.


Friday, 29 January:

Today I arrived back in Cusco via helicopter, and I can hear the last of the helicopters finishing the evacuation overhead.

Crowds in the main plaza. Photo: Danni Kirwan
Crowds in the main plaza. Photo: Danni Kirwan

It was all very well organised. It was decided to prioritise as follows: children, the ill, and over 60s initially, followed by 50 to 59-year-olds, 40 to 49-year-olds, then 30 to 39-year-olds, and then the first thing this morning the 18 to 20-year-olds were removed, then the rest of us.

We all queued at the station, then queued again at the helipad. The helicopter ride to Cusco airport was stunning, as it was a clear day and we passed over the beautiful Sacred Valley.

As we left, Aguas Calientes felt very empty. Its economy depends on tourism, and as Machu Picchu is expected to be shut for two months, the town will have to rely on government aid until the roads and railways are fixed.

The local people were cheerful today as they were pleased that we were all able to leave and return to our countries and our families - however there was an atmosphere of sadness and uncertainty.

Arriving in Cusco, there are drop-off points for food and clothing, and one is very aware of how affected the rest of the country is. The road from here to Lima is closed, making onward travel difficult for many.

Other than the sad loss of lives during the rains a few days ago, everyone is safe and relieved to be out.

Wednesday, 27 January:

As a Brit stuck in Aguas Calientes, I can say that the Peruvian authorities have been doing a reasonable job of looking after us.

The tourists are organising themselves into shifts of volunteers to help with distribution of supplies and medical aid

We have been given shelter, albeit not ideal. The tents put up in the square have not endured the rain very well but the town hall and school have also been habilitated. Water and some food have been handed out. There are concerns that supplies will run out but fortunately the weather conditions now are such that helicopters are able to come in and are taking out the most vulnerable first.

It will simply be a matter of waiting for the helicopters to shuttle the large numbers of people here to the nearest town from where buses are running. There are no safety concerns in the town itself and the tourists are organising themselves into shifts of volunteers to help with distribution of supplies and medical aid.


Wednesday, 27 January:

We are currently in Machu Picchu. We are stranded with all the other tourists. Many guides have left their groups and so there is some confusion amongst tourists. Everyone has put their names down on lists for evacuation and there is a priority system in place.

Tensions are rising at the train station making it difficult for people to get through

Wednesday afternoon there was an announcement from a group of representatives of the different nationalities. They have decided that evacuation will be based on age alone. They have also made available the school for people to sleep in. There is also going to be free healthcare, food and water. All the hostels will have fixed prices so that the owners cannot inflate them.

In general the tourists are in good spirits, however, tensions are rising at the train station making it difficult for people to get through. Many people have expressed a desire to walk to a nearby town which is eight hours away. However, guides who have made it through have expressed concern at the difficulty of such a task.


Wednesday, 27 January:

I'm here with a friend. We've been stuck since Sunday when the trains stopped. We've not seen 10 helicopters, possibly just three or four today. Supposedly there is a priority list: Over sixty-year-olds, women with children then everyone else.

Of the four over sixty-year-olds that we knew of, only one has been taken out. The other three had to wait all day in the heat only to be turned away when the helicopters stopped running.

In some shops prices for water and food are rising rapidly although there are some areas of human kindness. One restaurant is offering free food and a few hostel owners are offering reduced rates rather than the inflated rates of many others.

We're just hoping to get out in the next few days.

Flooding in Peru. Picture: Judith Daniello
The view from Ross' parents' hotel room. Picture: Judith Daniello

Wednesday, 27 January:

My parents are currently in the village seemingly most affected by this and they are waiting to be airlifted. So far we have been in touch via text message and the landline but they've been separated from their luggage and cannot charge their phones.

They've said it was pretty terrifying and that they had to run several times to escape the floods.

They've been put up in a hotel. They are on rations to ensure fresh water and food last. The local staff have apparently been amazing despite being in a very uncertain position themselves. Hopefully they will be airlifted today but they suspect it may be a few days.

Flooding in the Sacred Valley. Picture: Alcides Jordan
Flooding in the Sacred Valley. Picture: Alcides Jordan

Tuesday, 26 January:

I am still in Aguas Calientes. I have spent the whole day in a frightening queue of increasingly angry people. Supposedly I am going to be prioritised because I am retired and travelling alone. However priority is actually being given to mothers and children.

I have no real expectation that tomorrow will be better organised. The word soon went round this village that nobody was checking documents and so a whole lot of locals got a helicopter ride and those of us who were supposed to go, including some with medical problems, are still here.

Walking out and going out by rail from Aguas Calientes are now both impossible and too dangerous. The flood water is waist deep.

The train should never have brought us here. It was terribly dangerous with the river absolutely roaring. It is a river such as I have never seen before. It is like a really dangerous sea with waves up to eight feet high. The river was feet away from the train.

I do have a room and a kind landlord who kept it for me. The cash point has run out of money!

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