Monday, May 18, 2009

¡Huaico! (Landslide!)

Huaicos (pronounced why-cohs) are common on the highways of the High Peruvian Andes. Constructing a highway on the side of a mountain leaves bare dirt-and-rock cliffs that are exposed to rain and wind. Because of the excessive amount of rain this year, landslides have been even more common than usual.

So as we approached the town of Izcuchaca (between Huancayo and Huancavelica), we came upon this group of cars, trucks and busses (about 8 in all) backed up along the highway. A huaico had just occurred:

People were standing around this appropriate warning sign--falling rocks:

An enterprising woman from Izcuchaca was selling goodies to the stranded travelers:

Heavy equipment had to be brought in to move the rocks and earth, which had tumbled down the mountain covering the highway, and spilling into the river:

After a 90-minute wait, we were able to pass across the landslide by driving on a temporary path that had been built over the dirt:

Such is life in the High Andes.


Douglas and Connie Jones Earl said...

Seeing that line of vehicles and not knowing when we were going to move forward brought back a lot of memories.

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a mess!