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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 July, 2004, 01:05 GMT 02:05 UK
Children die in Peruvian freeze
By Hannah Hennessy
BBC, Lima

An alpaca farm in the Andes, Peru
The communities' animals - and livelihood - are dying from the cold
At least 46 children in Peru have died during one of the coldest spells in the Andes Mountains in 30 years.

The Peruvian government has declared a state of emergency in several regions where it says 158,000 people have been affected by freezing weather.

This week United Nations agencies said they would provide $745,000 in aid.

An aid official warned the situation would deteriorate unless resources were ploughed into helping poor communities prepare for similar winters.


Those affected are some of Peru's poorest people - isolated indigenous communities living high in the Andes mountains.

They survive by farming alpacas and lamas, eating their meat and selling their wool. But their animals are dying because of the cold, while heavy rain and snowfall has blocked links to the outside world.

An official for aid charity Save The Children, Nellie Cloe, said the situation was deteriorating.

"They need warm clothes because they are getting respiratory diseases," she said.

Non-governmental organisations are working together to provide blankets, warm clothes and food to the worst-hit areas.

But the situation will worsen unless resources are ploughed into helping these poor communities prepare for winters like this in the future, Cloe said.

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Timeline: Peru
30 Jun 04  |  Country profiles
Country profile: Peru
30 Jun 04  |  Country profiles


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