The flooding, mudslides and highway blockages due to intense rains spread Sunday to the Peruvian regions of Ancash, Cuzco, Huanuco and Pasco with thousands of people reported to be affected, officials said.
Ten kilometers (6.2 miles) of the highway linking the town of Kepashiato with the Valley of the Apurimac and Ene rivers, or VRAE, region are covered with mud and stones from landslides in recent hours, the governor of La Convencion, a province in the Cuzco region, Oscar Rodriguez Monterroso, told Radio Programs del Peru, or RPP.
“There are businessmen and people who are making trips and domestic tourists who are visiting the archaeological sanctuary of Machu Picchu through this zone and who, upon becoming stranded, have had to walk for several hours,” the governor said.
Last year, the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu was affected by the overflowing of the Vilcanota River and had to closed to the public for two months so that the train line leading to it, which had been damaged by flooding, could be repaired.
Officials, however, so far have not said that they are going to have to take measures of this kind at Machu Picchu, which this year will celebrate the 100th year of its discovery.
Fifty towns in Ancash located on the so-called Huaylas and Conchucos routes have been rendered incommunicado by several mudslides that buried the roads this past week, emergency management officials told the El Comercio newspaper.
In Ancash, one of the country’s main tourist attractions, the snow-covered Pastoruri mountain has reduced its schedule for visits by mountaineers to just the morning hours because of the presence later in the day of electrical storms and heavy rain.
Meanwhile, in the region of Huanuco, the overflowing of the Pachitea River has left 550 people affected in the Yuyapichis district, in the province of Puerto Inca, because of the flooding of 110 homes, as well as an unknown number of crop fields.
In the region of Pasco, at least 65 communities in the districts of Puerto Bermudez and Ciudad Constitucion remain under water after the overflowing of the Pichis River, emergency management officials said.
The intense rains have prevented the operation of helicopters in the area to accelerate the delivery of humanitarian aid, forcing the emergency management office to send some 25 tons of food, clothing, and construction materials by land.
There are 5,000 people affected in Pasco between those who lost their homes and all their possessions and others who suffered more minor damage, but all of them need food and medical attention to prevent the spread of disease, officials said.
The rains will be more intense in the remainder of the month and at the beginning of February, weather service regional chief Ada Ramos told El Comercio.