World Travel Watch: Floods in China, Train to Machu Picchu Resumes and More
World Travel Watch: Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news
06.23.10 | 12:07 PM ET
World Travel Watch is a weekly report designed to help you make informed judgments about travel. Conditions can change overnight, so always make your own inquiries before you leave home. The U.S. State Department and embassies or consulates are good places to start.
China: Floods Swamp Southern Provinces
Floods ravaged 10 provinces in southern China, killing some 200 people and displacing more than 2 million. Some of these areas had just suffered their worst drought in decades only to see three times the normal rainfall for the period come in a week. With rivers bursting their banks and at least one dike having failed, the forecast called for another week of heavy rain. Provinces that were hit hard include Guangdong, Fujian, Guangxi, Jiangxi and Sichuan.
India: General Strike Shut Down Darjeeling, Stranded Tourists
At least 100 tourists were stranded by an indefinite general strike in Darjeeling June 19 and had to be escorted out of the area by police. The strike was the most recent of several in the past year called by a Gorkha political party agitating for a autonomous Gorkha homeland. Government pressure caused them to relent and lift the strike for two days “to ease public inconvenience,” but the strike could continue to disrupt travel to Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Kurseong.
Peru: Full Train Service to Resume to Machu Picchu
Full train service to Machu Picchu will be restored July 1, finally putting the system back in complete operation after heavy rains and landslides washed away the tracks and stranded thousands in January. Access to the famed Inca site was restored in March but much of the journey had to be made by bus. Soon the 68-mile rail journey from Cuzco will be back in business.
Philippines: Rumbling Luzon Volcanoes Draw Tourists, Prompt Warnings
Two volcanoes on the island of Luzon are getting the attention of tourists and authorities, who are warning visitors to stay off the mountains for their safety. Taal Volcano in Batangas province about 30 miles from Manila is a popular tourist attraction, with a lake within a massive crater and an island in the lake that also has a crater lake. Scientists raised the alert to level two following 32 high frequency quakes suggesting that magma was rising and could lead to an eruption. Twelve towns and cities near the volcano were placed on emergency alert and almost 700 people have voluntarily evacuated. Taal last erupted in 1977. Many tourists have gone to Mayon Volcano instead of Taal because the alert level there is now one after a month of high activity in December, but authorities warned that the volcano is still dangerous with numerous rockfalls. Trekkers climbing to the upper levels of the mountain were at highest risk. Authorities consider all areas within four miles of the summit to be a permanent danger zone.
South Africa: U.S. Consulate Adds After-Hours Emergency Line for World Cup
The U.S. Consulate in Cape Town advised U.S. citizens that a South Africa-wide after-hours emergency contact number is in place through the July 11 end of the World Cup. Any U.S. citizen facing an emergency between the hours of 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. or anytime on the weekend should call 079-111-5000 (from outside South Africa, +27 79-111-5000).