The government of Peru reopens trains from Machu Picchu

(CNN) – Hundreds of tourists stranded in the ancient city of Machu Picchu are being evacuated after Peru was placed under a state of emergency following the impeachment of the country’s president.

After last week’s disruptions and closures, train services and airports are now reopening.

Civil unrest swept Peru earlier this month when former President Pedro Castillo was ousted and arrested, and his removal from power accelerated the country’s long-running political tensions. Rail and air travel services were disrupted as protesters stormed airports.

PeruRail, Peru’s rail operator for the country’s southern and southeastern regions, said in a statement on Saturday that trains were resuming operations there from Machu Picchu as an emergency.

A train carrying stranded tourists arrives in Ollantaytambo, Peru, on December 17.

A train carrying stranded tourists arrives in Ollantaytambo, Peru, on December 17.

Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty Images

“With this objective, we are coordinating with the City Council of Machu Picchu to guarantee the correct boarding of people on these trains, prioritizing care for the elderly, people with health problems and families with children” , it is indicated in the statement.

Trains to and from Machu Picchu, the main means of access to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, were halted on Tuesday, and PeruRail said in a statement that it regrets the disruption to its services that were “caused by a situation beyond the control of our company. .”

PeruRail also said evacuees would be taken by bus from the community of Piscacucho to the city of Cuzco, where the Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (CUZ) is located.

Peru’s Transport Ministry said on Friday that flights 75 kilometers (47 miles) from Machu Picchu have resumed after being temporarily suspended amid protests in the country.

“Passengers who need to move during the curfew hours can use their travel tickets as salconduct,” the ministry said.

On Sunday, Paola Lazarte, Peru’s Minister of Transport and Communications, also said work is underway at Arequipa Airport, the largest airport in southern Peru, to resume operations. after it was closed due to protests. He added that they had received additional lighting kits that helped resume night flight operations on Saturday.

About 300 tourists from around the world, including Peruvians, South Americans, Americans and Europeans, have been stranded at the historic site, according to Darwin Baca, mayor of Machu Picchu.

Baca told CNN on Friday that he had requested helicopter flights to evacuate tourists after the protests grounded trains and flights.

Stranded tourists walk around Chilca, near Machu Picchu.

Stranded tourists walk around Chilca, near Machu Picchu.

Alejandra Orosco / Reuters

Protests erupted in cities across the country after Castillo’s ouster, sometimes marked by clashes with Peruvian security forces. Some protest in support of Castillo, while others want a total reset of the country with new general elections and the dissolution of Congress.

Machu Picchu’s municipal district said in a statement on Friday that it expected to evacuate tourists by Saturday as tensions rose across the country, which had turned deadly as at least 20 people have died amid political demonstrations.

“The municipality, through the Tourism Unit, carries out the necessary coordination for the selection and prioritization of children and vulnerable people for transfer on humanitarian flights, work that has been carried out in coordination with the National Police and the District Health Center”. said the statement.

Warnings from international governments

The ongoing rescue operation is a collaborative effort organized between the mayor of Machu Picchu, Darwin Baca León, in coordination with the Ministries of Foreign Trade and Tourism, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Culture ( DDC) and the District Municipality of Machu. picchu

The UK Embassy in the Peruvian capital of Lima advised British citizens to register through the “iPerú” platform through their online form and with local authorities at the Cultural Center on Avenida Pachacutec.
The US State Department has issued a travel advisory for citizens traveling to Peru, which it has listed as a level three “reconsider travel” destination. The State Department urges travelers to Peru to sign up for U.S. Embassy STEP alerts if they have not already done so.

In a speech on Sunday, Pope Francis called for peace in Peru.

“We pray for peace in Peru, that the violence in the country ceases and that the path of dialogue is taken to overcome the political and social crisis that the population is suffering.”

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