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Irish backpacker safe from Peru mudslides

A DUBLIN man is safe in Peru after the village he was staying in was hit by torrential rain and mudslides.

Jamie Furey (24) from Newcastle in Dublin and six friends were travelling close to the Incan ruins in the Andes when the severe weather struck, he described the experience as "traumatising".

The seven friends are now safe and sound in the Peruvian city of Cusco but they will never forget their trip to Machu Picchu.



Traumatising

"We were in a village in Machu Picchu when it happened" Jamie said.

"It was so traumatising, I'd say there were more than a thousand people there at the time.

"The waves were coming down and people were just shouting to go to higher ground, so we all went up. It was kind of crazy, it was very scary, five or six bridges collapsed".

Jamie was cut off from his anxious family for days but managed to contact them when he got to Cusco.

"My family were very worried. I couldn't get through to them until a very nice man lent me his mobile to ring home. They knew I was out here, and they were worried until I got the phone".

Jamie and his pals were some of the lucky people that managed to flee the affected areas but some remain stranded.

Nine Irish tourists are among 2,000 people stranded in the legendary area of Mach Picchu in Peru.

The breathtaking Incan ruins have been cut off by mudslides and heavy rain is hampering rescue attempts as helicopters can't get through.

The Department of Foreign Affairs last night confirmed that the honorary Irish consulate in Lima has been in touch with two separate organised groups, with which nine Irish people are travelling.

A spokesman said there were no reports of injuries and that the tourists were in no immediate danger.

Stranded tourists are due to be airlifted from the area when the weather clears but tourists are getting desperate as accommodation and food run low.

There was fury among travellers stranded near Machu Picchu, as restaurants in the affected areas put up their prices as food starting running low.

An Argentine tourist and her Peruvian guide became the first international victims of the severe flooding yesterday after a landslide buried their tent on the Inca hiking trail.



flooded

Jamie is due to travel to Chile in a week before he travelled to Australia but all the roads from Cusco to the Peruvian Capital Lima remain flooded.

"We'd only been here for two weeks" he said. "I am supposed to leave in a week but the roads are all flooded.

"I'd say there are about 100 or 120 Irish people out here at the moment, they're literally sleeping on the street.

"I'm here with six of my friends. I had planned to go to Chile, but we can't leave Cusco at the moment, so we are just sitting around waiting".