Machu Picchu Mudslide Leaves Over One Thousand Stranded
At least 1,400 people " many of them foreign tourists " were stranded at the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu yesterday after a mudslide blocked the famous railway to the site.
The high-altitude line from Cuzcu was covered by more than three metres (9.8 feet) deep on Wednesday. Some 400,000 people visit Peru's most famous tourist attraction every year.
Many of the evacuees, who were being moved out by road last night, are Europeans and Americans, a city official in Cuzco said.
It is thought that melting Andes snow was responsible. The slide comes as a surprise given that October is normally a dry season for with only moderate temperatures.
At 2,400 metres (7,800 feet) above sea level, the pre-Colombian Machu Picchu is a mysterious place built in a dramatic landscape for reasons that have been forgotten with the passing of the Inca empire. It is believed to have been constructed by the great ruler Pachacuti around the middle of the 15th century. The Spanish conquistadors were never able to find the site, probably because it had been abandoned before the Spanish arrived.
This is not the first time erratic weather has wrought disaster on the region. In April 2004, at least six people died in a mudslide. In 1997 and 1998, El Nino caused massive damage to the economy by blocking transportation.
The heavy rains have now retreated and repair to the tracks is expected to take three days
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