07:32 | Lima, Jan. 27 (ANDINA).
Peru’s Foreign Trade and Tourism Minister Martin Perez announced Wednesday that an additional 800 tourists will be rescued by helicopter after being trapped for two days by flash floods in Cusco’s Machu Picchu area.
Heavy rain over several days has unleashed flooding and landslides in southern Peru, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of tourists stranded in the Andes near the Inca ruins at Machu Picchu, officials said.
Machu Picchu -- one of the wonders of the world -- draws tens of thousands of international tourists every year. Mudslides have cut the rail line that takes visitors to the region, and mountainous terrain and bad weather are limiting evacuation flights.
"We hope that if God and weather help us and allow us, in a frame of eight hours, we could be pulling nearly 700 to 800 tourists," said Minister Martin Perez.
Minister Perez, who remains in the area to closely monitor the rescue of tourists, mentioned that stranded tourists are being evacuated by eleven helicopters, which on Tuesday ferried out 475 tourists, including 103 Peruvians.
Five days of torrential rains in the Cuzco region have destroyed bridges, 250 houses and hundreds of acres of crops.
The spectacular Incan ruins, perched on an Andean mountaintop, are Peru's top tourist destination.