ATLANTA - Twenty-four hours. That’s how much time Augusta University and other Georgia college students had to book a flight and gather their belongings.
The students are among hundreds of Americans stuck in Peru after the country closed its borders due to the coronavirus.
Hashtag "stuck in Peru" is the cry for help from hundreds of Americans unable to leave Peru before its borders shut down.
Among the stranded, several students from Georgia.
“I was supposed to fly from Bogota, from Lima to Bogota, and then Bogota home to Atlanta,” says Natalie Reed, a physician’s assistant student at Augusta University.
Reed was determined to try her best to get out.
“My family was adamant that I get to Lima if I have any shot of getting out, so I was able to get on a flight from Cusco to Lima on Monday,” Reed says.
But Monday was the last day anyone could enter or leave Peru.
“I was just, at that point, in a panic, figuring that I could be here alone for an unknown amount of time.”
Reed says authorities told her she could be stuck for at least two weeks but thinks it will be longer.
She left behind 11 other students from three universities, including the University of Georgia, in Cusco.
Nurin Ghazzawi is another Augusta University student struggling to get back to the U.S.
“Our main concern was if this happened so rapidly and they kind of shut down their borders with minimal warning, what else can happen?”
The students say they’re quickly running out of American currency, and no one is allowed to go anywhere except to seek medical assistance or buy groceries.
The Americans stuck in Peru have started a group on WhatsApp to stay in communication during this difficult time. They say their main goal is to get the attention of the federal government to help them get home.
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This story was reported on from Atlanta.