Severe winter weather threatens thousands in Peru
Dangerous winter weather conditions are severely impacting residents of Peru, whose population is currently facing unusual temperatures far below historical averages - decreasing to -4º F at night. The cold weather is mainly affecting poor families who do not have the minimum shelter facilities and adequate heating to protect them.
To date, 409 deaths have been reported in Peru, of which half are children under 5 years old. In Arequipa, one of the 11 worst affected areas, over 200,000 cases of acute respiratory infections have been recorded.
In the Plan program area of Cusco, the demand for health services is high and over 1,100 cases of pneumonia have been reported in children under age 5. Due to the situation, many regions are demanding the Government declare a state of emergency caused by the cold weather.
Plan is coordinating with local municipal authorities, community leaders and heads of health facilities in the affected areas to monitor the situation and implement the response.
Plan has extended emergency assistance to children under 5 and pregnant women in five of the most affected areas. Approximately 8,000 women and children will benefit from winter clothing distributions, which began on July 14th. Items and vulnerable groups targeted are as follows:
- 1,500 shelter kits for babies under 6 months: each kit includes a fleece blanket, jacket and trousers with Polarflex, and woolen cap.
- 5,000 shelter kits for children of less than 5 years old: includes a fleece blanket, cotton jacket, pants and woolen cap.
- 1,500 kits for pregnant women: warm fleece blanket and woolen pants.
Along with the kits, Plan staff is distributing important information on how Peruvian families can protect themselves during the cold winter months. Key messages on health and illness prevention are also being disseminated in the media and at health facilities throughout the region.
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