Hundreds of tourists, many of them Israelis, found themselves stranded at Machu Picchu in Peru, after violent riots began in the country on Thursday following an attempted coup. Now, the Israelis are reporting a night curfew, a siege of central towns, roadblocks by protesters, the dismantling of railroad tracks and the throwing of stones at those trying to leave the city by car.
Israel has not yet begun to actively evacuate its citizens from the areas of friction, but the Foreign Ministry recommended avoiding reaching areas where there are concentrations of demonstrations and clashes. The ministry also stated that those who need the help of the representation receive it. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs monitors all Israeli travelers that we know of, especially in the problematic places,” it was reported.
Many parents whose children remained stuck in the country told “Walla!” For getting frustrated with the situation. “The rescue offered to the Israeli travelers is a seven-hour walk to the nearest town and from there a mounted evacuation,” Reital, whose daughter is currently traveling in Peru and trapped in one of the riot zones, said on Facebook, “There are travelers who do not feel well like my daughter and I am quite afraid of this journey on foot. I expected the embassy and company The insurance will take care of air rescue, at least for those who have to, but it doesn’t seem to be happening, and it’s a shame.”
The travelers’ insurance company PassportCard is organizing together with the Israeli rescue company “Magnus” for the urgent evacuation of Israelis who are in the area of the town of Aguas Calientes, which is close to the Machu Picchu site. The insurance company stated that travelers who are not insured by the company will also be rescued as part of the operation. It was also reported that contact has already been made with all the Israelis, and that the evacuation operation will begin later today. This, after Magnus teams in Israel and Peru had earlier carried out an intelligence assessment of the terrain and weather conditions.
Protesters in Peru block a railway following the impeachment and arrest of former president Pedro Castillo (Photo: Reuters)
Sportcard and Magnus said in a statement that “during the past week the political instability in the region has increased, which has led to violent riots and roadblocks in central cities, roads and even airports – a state of emergency has been declared in the country.” It was also reported that “without expecting the end of the crisis, the control center built several different rescue plans in order to rescue the travelers to a place of safety in the safest way. The plan is evaluated according to the situation on the ground.”
The mayor of Machu Picchu told the media that he estimates that around 300 local and foreign tourists are now besieged in the city without being able to get out. He said he asked the government to evacuate them by helicopter after the railway company stopped service to and from the city.
Peru’s new government has declared a 30-day state of national emergency to quell the violent protests rocking the country following the impeachment and arrest of President Pedro Castillo a week ago. The measures announced on Wednesday suspended the right to assemble and move freely throughout the entire country – days before the Christmas holiday, when people are usually on the road to visit family. The proclamation also authorizes the police to search people’s homes without permission or a court order and, if necessary, to impose a night curfew.