Aussies in the Andes plead for help

Australians in Peru say they are still unable to come home due to a strict lockdown scheduled to last until April 12 and no known commercial flights out of the country.

Perth resident Mervyn Sng says he was due to fly home two weeks ago but has been stranded in the country after a full lockdown was announced by the Peruvian government on March 15 and flights were cancelled.

Mr Sng is in isolation at a hotel in Cusco, a town in southeastern Peru, after two guests tested positive for COVID-19 at the hostel he was staying in.

Pariwana Hostel Cusco. Photo: supplied.

 “We don’t know how long we have to stay here for.” Mr Sng says.

Melbournian Sarah Eifermann has also been stranded in Cusco after travelling around South America since February.  

Ms Eifermann says seeing the extent of military lockdowns firsthand is confronting.

“You cannot leave the house without a mask and only one person can go at a time for the purposes of pharmacy, bank or grocery store,” she says.

Military forces passersby to wear masks in the street. Video: supplied.
Cusco during Peru’s lockdown. Video: supplied.

“There are sirens ringing all over the city.

“Sometimes there are military aircraft flying around or police motorcades with flashing lights.”

Ms Eifermann believes there could be 150 to 300 Australians still stranded in Peru and has pleaded for the Australian Government to communicate with them.

“We need concrete, effective and clear communication as to when there might be an end in sight for us here,” she says.

Mr Sng also says he hopes the federal government will follow the lead of several other nations in arranging flights home for their stranded citizens.

“There have been talks over the last few days of a flight possibly happening so I’m a little hopeful, but still totally clueless as of now,” he says.