'Please get us out of here': Canadians struggling to make it out of Peru
CALGARY -- A Canadian who has been stuck in Peru for more than a month says this week may present her last chance for months to make it back home.
Laurel Conley travelled to Peru in the middle of February, long before COVID-19 presented the problem it does today.
She planned on coming back to Canada two weeks ago, but a national shutdown in Peru on March 15th left her and 11 other Canadians stranded.
They’re located in Pucallpa, a city near the western Peruvian border. It’s roughly a 16 hour drive through the Amazon to Lima — which is currently the only city Canadians can leave the country through.
But the journey to Lima has proven to be a difficult one. Conley says the embassy hasn’t organized a bus to take them, and they can’t leave any other way.
"Us being here, it’s going to get only more dangerous," Conley told CTV News Calgary.
She’s worried about the situation in Peru. She believes the lockdown has led to unrest and instability.
"If we get sick, we’re in a lot of trouble," she said. "People are running out of money and hotels are closing down and kicking foreigners out."
"You could die here."
Over the last two weeks, the group has made multiple attempts to leave the region and get to where the planes are.
As they wait in hotels, they’re responsible for the price of accommodations and some believe they’ll have to pay up to $2,000 for the trip home.
This week presents an appealing opportunity: flights to Toronto — travel Conley says she doesn’t think will be offered again in the near future.
But just when they believed those flights were the way out, the group has stumbled across a new problem.
Conley says they were told this week they can’t make it to Lima without embassy papers and negative COVID-19 tests: two things that they say are almost impossible to come by.
"The rules are changing every day. Sometimes several times a day."
Sunday, Conley sent a plea to her local and national governments.
She says she has almost given up on making it to Lima, and believes a plane to Pucallpa is needed instead.
That’s something she says the American government is granting its citizens on Monday.
"We need a plane and the US is using this airport for repatriation of their citizens," Conley said. "Canada needs to do the same."
"Please get us out of here. We want to get out of here. We want to be in our country."