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Iowa Family Stuck in Peru Amid COVID-19 Crisis

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CUSCO, Peru — An Urbandale family traveling for a dream vacation in Peru is now stuck there trying to get home.

The Boyle family left Iowa for spring break on March 13. On March 16, Peru started a mandatory countrywide quarantine in response the COVID-19 pandemic.

From their hotel room in Cusco, Mary Boyle said, “We are awaiting news from the U.S. government on when we can be evacuated. Right now, they have been trying to evacuate more people out of Lima and have had trouble getting flights from Cusco to Lima. We’re supposed to be on the next chartered flight, the government has been chartering flights, so we’re supposed to be the next flight out of Cusco, but we got notice today that that has been delayed for an unspecified period of time.”

Mary and Bob Boyle traveled to Peru with their son Aidan, who is a sophomore. They only got to enjoy one day of their spring break trip. “We are stuck in the hotel. We don’t have to stay in the room, but we can’t really leave hotel grounds, except if we need to leave for food or go to the pharmacy, but even that is somewhat limited,” said Mary.

The family left Iowa before things were shutting down in the United States and South America. Mary said they were slightly worried when they left. “But it really hadn’t hit Peru. Things have changed so fast. It just deteriorated so rapidly. You could look at it as why did we go from a perspective of today, but 12 days ago, Peru wasn’t anything like this.”

The family is nervous their return home could still be delayed, but they’re thankful for support of family and friends.  “We’ve had a lot of contact, a lot of people contacting senators and representatives on our behalf. It makes a difference,” said Mary.

Bob added, “Joni Ernst’s office has been really proactive, communicates a lot. Senator Grassley’s office has been super helpful, and Representative Axne. They’ve all been responsive and done a lot to help and we’re in a hotel with a lot of Americans and they’ve all written their Congress people and some quite literally have not gotten a reply.”

The U.S. Embassy in Lima says it is working with the Peruvian government to arrange a charter flight. Five hundred American tourists left Peru as of Monday.

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