On 11 April, mudslides in and around Aguas Calientes, the village closest to the ancient Inca citadel of Macchu Pichu killed more than one and destroyed several homes in the area. 10 people are also missing, presumed dead. Hundreds of tourists visiting the site were trapped in the area when an avalanche of rock and mud also severed road and rail links between Aguas Calientes and the city of Cusco. For some time it was not even possible for people to be evacuated by helicopter because of the weather. However track repairs were begun straight away, phone lines continued to work and there was no shortage of food.
President Alejandro Toledo who was in the area working on a TV travel programme when the landslides happened helped co-ordinate rescue efforts, also lent his helicopter to the effort. “I suspended all my activities to come to the zone that was hit by the avalanches,” Toledo said. “I’m with the people of Aguas Calientes, seeing their anguish and sadness.”
The ruins themselves were not affected and within days, the stranded tourists had all been evacuated and the railway and roads reopened allowing trips to the Inca city to resume.