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FREEZING weather in mountainous Peru has wiped out crops and livestock, decimating villagers’ livelihoods, reports Plan International.
Average temperatures of minus 20 degrees centigrade have left 250,000 alpacas dead, with at least another week of cold forecast.
Aid workers for Plan are preparing to help some of the worst hit areas, around Cusco, with food distribution.
“People do not have the proper preparedness to face these harsh conditions which are affecting health and livelihoods,” says Plan’s programme manager in Cusco, Carlos Chevarria.
“Rural families have lost crops and livestock – roads have been blocked and basic communications affected.”
Three regions, Puno, Huancavelica and Arequipa, have declared a state of emergency prompting a 735-tonne government aid distribution.
The worst hit provinces in Cusco have seen two-and-a-half feet of snow, making roads impassable and cutting off power.
“In order to protect the health of schoolchildren, classes have been suspended,” says Mr Chevarria. “Activities in public institutions are paralyzed.”
Plan is liaising with government agencies with aid workers on stand-by to intervene if required.
“We’ll be conducting a mapping of communities above 3,800 metres,” says Mr Chevarria. “Information will be collected regarding the affected families.”
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