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Australian family trapped in Peru forced to pay $30,000 to escape after coronavirus lockdown

A young family has been forced to pay $30,000 to fly home from Peru after they became stranded amid the coroanvirus pandemic.

Alex Wallace and Geneva Meldrum, from Sydney’s affluent northern beaches, travelled to South America on March 14 with Ms Meldrum’s parents for a wedding.

But the day after they arrived in Cieneguilla, an hour outside of Peru’s capital Lima, they were told Peru would be shutting its borders.

Despite waiting for hours for last minute tickets home the family of six were turned away after airlines sold out.  

‘The next morning we were very anxious. We contacted our travel agent because we didn’t know what was going on. My mother went to the Latam (airline) office in Lima, but it was locked and no one was there,’ Ms Meldrum.

The desperate mother-of-two called the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade who advised her that some flights were still leaving the country in order repatriate people who were stuck abroad. 

They spoke to travel agency Chimu Adventures who were able to sell them six tickets at $5,000 each. 

It is believed the family are due to leave Peru on Sunday after they suffered a series of setbacks. 

‘Our first date for departure was March 24th, then that was moved to March 27th which is now delayed again with no set date. So we are waiting. It’s scary,’ Ms Meldrum said. 

While the family said they are desperate to get home after struggling to find food. 

Shopping has proved difficult due to daily lockdowns from 8pm to 5am and the family are unable to use taxis because they are not permanent residents. 

‘I’m most concerned about my kids getting sick here. We don’t have a car and don’t have a driver who can drive us. We have no nappies for my two year old, so it’s really hard and stressful,’ Ms Meldrum said.

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