State of emergency declared in Peru due to heavy snowfall

SnowinPeru

An unusual cold spell has hit Peru, its neighbour Bolivia as well as Paraguay. The Peruvian government has extended state of emergency to nine regions to cope with the unusually cold weather and heavy snowfall.

Snow has recently gripped many South American countries, with snowfall across Argentina and even in some areas of Brazil.

Local officials in Peru have said that at least seven people have died and 33,000 others have been affected by the cold spell. Tens of thousands of animals have frozen to death over the past week.

Peruvian President Ollanta Humala has travelled to Apurimac, one of the worst-hit areas, to oversee the distribution of emergency aid. An official statement said that the state of emergency would be in place for 20 days.

The heaviest snow fall to hit Peru in a decade has killed tens of thousands of llamas, alpacas, cattle and sheep and has left many farmers destitute.

SnowinPeru

One man reportedly died when the roof of his hut caved in under the weight of the snow in southern Carabaya province.

On Saturday, three people were rescued from the same region after their home was cut off by snow. Rescue workers said the three – two girls and an elderly woman – were suffering from frostbite and snow blindness.

The cold spell has killed at least seven people in Peru, four in Bolivia and two in Paraguay.

Weather forecasters say a cold front from Antarctica entered the region almost a week ago.

One of the driest places on earth, the Atacama desert in northern Chile, even saw some snow last week.

Forecasters have said that the snowfall was the heaviest in the area, about 1,000km (600 miles) north of capital Santiago, in three decades.

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