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Freezing temperatures threaten thousands in Peru
Wednesday, July 28th 2010, 4:41 AM GMT
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
Plan is providing emergency supplies to thousands of children and pregnant women in Peru who are suffering from a cold snap that has already caused the deaths of more than 200 people from pneumonia.

Temperatures have plummeted as low as -24C° in some areas, far below the average for July.

Plan programme units in Cusco and Lima have been badly affected, and the freezing weather has caused the Peruvian government to declare a state of emergency in 16 out of 24 regions of the country.

Thousands at risk

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In Plan's Cusco programme unit the Regional Health Authority (DIRESA) has reported that up to 51,164 children in the area are severely at risk of being affected by the cold weather. A DIRESA health survey earlier this month revealed that there were 1,126 cases of children aged under 5 suffering from pneumonia in Cusco.

Vital aid

Plan Peru is providing warm clothing, blankets and other essential items to 8,000 young children and pregnant women in the Cusco communities of Chumbivilcas, Paucartambo, Calca, Acomayo and Anta.

Plan is also supporting local health services with nebulisers for inhaling medication and oxygen.

Children most vulnerable

Silivia Nole, Plan Peru's programme support manager, said: "Children are more vulnerable to get acute respiratory illnesses due to cold temperatures, especially those who live in extreme poverty and suffer from malnutrition and lack of proper shelter. In Cusco, Plan Peru is working to strengthen local health services and is delivering shelter kits to the families most affected in order to help them cope with cold."

Most of the emergency supplies have been stockpiled since February, when Cusco experienced heavy flooding. Plan Peru is coordinating with local authorities and other non-governmental organisations to ensure that aid gets through to those most in need.
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