Deadly Cold Wave Brings Misery to Southern Peru
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John Torres, Senior Public Relations Manager
SILVER SPRING, Md. —An intense cold front has brought heavy snow, hail, strong winds and unusually low temperatures to southern Peru where the deaths of more than 150 children have been blamed on the cold. The situation prompted the Peruvian government to declare a state of emergency in 21 regions of the country, said the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA).
“The prolonged exposure to the cold is causing hypothermia, acute respiratory infections, pneumonia, and deaths, mainly among young children,” said Walter Britton, country director for ADRA Peru. “The greatest needs right now are for blankets and warm clothes, as the cold is really intense, especially at night.”Since late May, dozens of children have died in Peru due to cold-related illnesses, as temperatures have dropped in some areas to minus 30 degrees Celsius (minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit).
In response to the request of the provincial municipality of Carabaya, ADRA is distributing blankets and clothing kits for 500 affected families in the district of Crucero, in the Puno region, in southeastern Peru. Each family will receive three blankets and one clothing kit. The intervention will be coordinated with Peru’s National Civil Defense Institute.
The intervention, which began on June 29 and is expected to end July 10, is being implemented with funding from ADRA International, the ADRA South American Regional office located in Brasilia, Brazil, and ADRA Peru.
According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), more than 13,600 cases of pneumonia have been reported so far this year. In the Puno region alone, 60,000 cases of acute respiratory infections and 933 cases of pneumonia have been reported. A total of 52 children under the age of five died from pneumonia, reported El Comercio Perú, a Lima-based newspaper.
ADRA Peru, which began work in 1965 as Obra Filantrópica y Asistencia Social Adventista (OFASA), is recognized today as one of the largest non-governmental organizations in Peru. It works in several key areas, including basic infrastructure, basic education, economic development, health care, democracy and governance, and agriculture.
ADRA is a non-governmental organization present in 125 countries providing sustainable community development and disaster relief without regard to political or religious association, age, gender, race or ethnicity.
For more information, visit www.adra.org.
Author: Nadia McGill