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Machu Picchu’s Uncertain Future

by Elena on February 13, 2010

Peru Machu PicchuA couple weeks ago, floods and mudslides forced over 3,900 tourists to flee the area.  Most were flown out by helicopter because the flooding destroyed the trail system that people use to go to and from Machu Picchu and Aguas Calientes.Peru Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu remains closed to tourists and will stay that way until the Peruvian government can rebuild the rail system.  Machu Picchu already had a weakened structure, growing more weak with each of the thousands of tourists who wander on top of its stones each year.  The flooding will undoubtedly affect the tourism economy.  Peru officials are worried about these effects, and they are already lowering prices trying to lull tourism back to the country.

The fact that people lost their homes, livelihoods, and businesses is enough to bear, but the effects will be even harder to recover from if tourism doesn’t pick up eventually.  It is a sad truth that locals who depend highly on tourism will be affected the most, at least the most directly.

One of the reasons I avoid writing about such tragic events is because my words always seem trivial compared to the events themselves.  Rick Steves does a great job with this sort of commentary such as his response to the earthquake in Haiti and his commentary on the poverty in Haiti even before the disaster struck, but not all of us have that ability.

Having been in Peru less than a year ago it is extremely sad to see the same places I visited destroyed.  Again, this is an egocentric feeling that displays how the places you visit form a personal connection with you always.  The footage of the wreckage, as well as a post from Uncornered Market, inspired me to go through my pictures of Peru.  The photography section is back up with pictures from Peru, including Machu Picchu.

Images via: The Sacramento Bee

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