29 Jan 2010

NZ tourists evacuated from Peru mudslide area

10:34 pm on 29 January 2010

Fourteen New Zealanders have been flown out of the tourist area of Peru where they were among hundreds trapped by mudslides and flooding that cut access to the historic ruins of Machu Picchu.

Five people were killed, houses, bridges and highways were washed away and some 2000 tourists became trapped at the World Heritage site in the jungle in eastern Peru after the heaviest rains in the area in 15 years.

The government in Peru says about 1400 tourists have now been evacuated as resucers took advantatge of a break in torrential rain.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) says seven New Zealanders remain stranded in the town of Aguas Calientes, near Machu Picchu. They are expected to be rescued on Saturday.

MFAT says it will continue to maintain contact with the remaining New Zealanders until it is confirmed they have been evacuated.