Landslides in Santa Teresa - access to Machu Picchu blocked

In recent days the area called Santa Teresa in the province of Cusco has been pounded with landslides. Santa Teresa is most commonly known as the backdoor to Machu Picchu as it is from here that the only alternative access to Machu Picchu other than the train is located. The landslides and flooding started at the end of this month when a large flood of mud and water from the Salkantay River entered the larger Vilcanota River, provoking this to flood. In the flooding, two villages, next to the river, Sahuayaco and Chaullay have been largely swept away by the water leaving dozens of families with nothing else than the clothing on their backs. In total over 500 people have been affected and so far there are 30 people missing. One person lost his life after the river current dragged him away.

Further upstream the famous thermal baths of Cocalmayo have been flooded and destroyed and the access to the Hydroelectric plant and train tracks to Machu Picchu has been blocked. From this area the emergency services from the government were able to take 10 foreigners to safety who were surprised by the fast rising water.

Due to the fact that the access to the hydroelectric plant from where the path to Machu Picchu runs is not accessible, this also means that for the time being hikers doing the Salkantay Hike to Machu Picchu will not be able to finish the hike in Machu Picchu but can only get to Santa Teresa. Therefore for these hikers, alternative measures will have to be taken in order for them to travel to Machu Picchu by train. It is hard to predict how long this situation will continue but as the damage to the local infrastructure is quite substantial it may take several weeks for the situation to turn back to normal and the Santa Teresa access to Machu Picchu accessible again.

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