Ongoing snowstorms along the border of Peru and Bolivia have left at least six people dead and claimed the lives of more than 30,000 domestic animals.
The cold spell affected about 80,000 mostly poor highlanders in Peru, damaging their main source of revenue - livestock including sheep, llamas and alpacas, and crops, officials said on Tuesday. On Saturday, Peruvian President Ollanta Humala travelled to the Apurimac region to deliver aid to affected residents. Head of Peru's Civil Defense Institute, Alfredo Murgueytio, called the storm the worst weather in a decade in the country’s south. The abnormal storm has seen the first snowfall in Chile’s Atacama Desert in 30 years, stranding 12,000 families as nearly three feet of snow fell in the Puno district, officials said. Temperatures are expected to reach below -20 degrees Celsius (-4 Fahrenheit) in the next few days. Peruvian authorities extended a state of emergency to 10 regions of the country through September 20. Peru’s geography varies from arid plains along the coast to the peaks of the Andes Mountains, to tropical forests of the Amazon Basin.