According to the local press, over 50 children have died due to the unusually cold weather in various parts of Peru. The high plateau provinces of Puno, Apurimac, and Cuzco are among the most affected. The cold weather has reached -20 degrees Celsius and, according to current weather reports, will persist until the beginning of September.
For this reason, SOS Children's Villages has initiated a humanitarian aid programme. It has made itself present in the most affected areas in order to support the most vulnerable. "One cannot be absent in the face of a situation that affects so many Peruvian families. SOS Children's Villages will support the most needed families," stated Carlos Rainusso, President of SOS Children's Villages Peru. SOS co-workers from Arequipa organised supplies for the most affected families and children. The support consists of warm clothes, food, and 2,200 blankets for about 3,000 people.
"After reaching the city of Puno, we climbed to a height of 4,200 meters above sea level. It was a tiring and challenging trip that took us about three hours to complete," report the co-workers that brought the support to the area. "It is still snowing in the area and the poverty is evident as soon as you meet the first people and see their shelters. The houses' walls are made of mud brick and the roofs out of straw. There are a lot of children in need. They are the most affected. The living condition of families is quite disheartening. Their shelters mostly consist of one room that functions as a bedroom and a kitchen. The only way to get warm is by burning firewood. However, the houses lack chimneys, causing the smoke to concentrate inside the shelters, and provoking respiratory problems. Nevertheless, for many, there is no other choice..."
In the Peruvian highlands, the situation is dramatic: children are malnourished, increasing their susceptibility to diseases such as pneumonia and bronchitis. Each winter, hundreds of children perish of these diseases in Peru.