Tourists ‘bribe their way out of flooded Machu Picchu’
By Hannah Strange
British backpackers were among 1,500 tourists trying to escape from Peru’s Inca citadel of Machu Picchu yesterday, which has been cut off by floods and landslides.
As food supplies dwindled and hostels ran out of space many tourists were sleeping in the railway station and the town’s main square while they waited to be rescued by helicopter.
“The situation is about to erupt,” Rudy Chalco, a tour guide with a group of elderly Europeans, told the Peruvian daily newspaper El Comercio. “We don’t have any more food, disorder is starting to reign, the soldiers and police don’t know what to do or how to organise the help that has arrived, people are getting desperate and no one is taking charge.”
Some tourists were paying up to $500 (£300) for a seat on one of the helicopters, he said.
Fernando Celis, one of 300 Chileans stranded in Machu Picchu, said that people were bribing rescuers. “A helicopter arrived yesterday to take out the elderly and the unwell and some tourists who had more money. There are almost no North Americans left, only the backpackers. People on tours who were waving their money about, they were all evacuated,” he said.
He added that local vendors had doubled their prices. Read the rest of this story