Five Williston residents stuck in Peru due to travel ban

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WILLISTON, N.D. - A group from the Liberty Evangelical Church in Williston were on a mission trip in Peru, when the pandemic spread, causing all flights to be canceled.

Now the five North Dakotans are trying to figure out how to get home.

Gary and Kari Everett left for Peru the first week of March, when there were no reported cases of coronavirus in North Dakota or Peru.

Within the first week of their service work, they received news the pandemic spread and closed down all travel.

They've since met up with another group from Williston, but are now stuck in a cycle of flights getting canceled.

What began as a two week mission trip, soon turned in to a third week of being stranded in another country.

"It did happen very quickly, that is correct. The changes happened within a couple of days," said Mike Cannon, a Williston resident.

On Monday the Peruvian President implemented a travel ban, stranding the five Williston citizens.

"No domestic flights would fly, and no international flights would come in," said Cannon.

The town they live in also has a strict curfew from 8 at night until 5 in the morning, in response to the 363 cases of coronavirus.

"They're getting picked up and their passports being taken away. We have not seen that where we are, but were trying to be very careful. There are Policemen on each corner," said Kari Everett.

So far, the families tried to book more than four different flights home.

"We try to book, and then they get canceled, book and then cancel," says Kari.

North Dakota government leaders, including South Dakota senator Mike Rounds have been working with the families and checking in on them daily.

"They are aware of all of us here in Peru and there working towards getting us home," said Cannon.

The timeline of the flight is unknown.

"There's roughly 60 US Citizens in the Trujillo area, so there might be enough people here for them to send a plane for us," says Cannon.

The Williston families are staying hopeful, that one day they will be able to make the trip back home.

"I know that there are people here in Peru that are worse off than we are, so were grateful that we have what we do, but we would just like to get home as soon as we can," said Doug Flaten, a Williston resident.

For now, the five people are waiting until they can be re-untied with friends and family in North Dakota.

The families told me they had to sign commissary notes for flights that have been promised by the U.S. government.