July 12, 2007
For the past 6 weeks Peru has been in the grip of extremly cold weather with temperatures ranging between -22º and -15º C. The RECORD-BREAKING COLD SPELL has already affected over 200,000 people, caused the death of 55 children under five and is responsible for over 6,000 cases of pneumonia. The Government of Peru has declared a National Emergency in 14 of the 24 Peruvian provinces as severe weather continues to sweep the country and has began moving large supplies of warm clothing, blankets and materials to the affected areas. In January this year, an unexpected cold spell hit the high Andean community of Peru and destroyed around 60% of the crops. The severe weather was then followed by the onset of Winter in June and now this second spell of extreme cold has wiped out the remainder of the crops and is causing considerable hardship for children and communities. The worst hit areas are in the provinces of Puno, Apurimac, Ancash, Cajamarca and Cusco. With ten weeks of Winter left, forecasters predict temperatures will drop further.