Peru: Cold Wave - Jul 2015

Disaster description

Since May 2015 to date, a meteorological phenomenon causing low temperatures, heavy snowfall and frost has affected the Andean regions located above 3,500 metres above sea level; temperatures have dropped below 0°C, and there have been snowstorms and hail. In some places, temperatures reached -15° C, severely affecting the lives and health of the population, as well as basic services, livelihoods (livestock and agriculture) and the infrastructure of various structures, including schools.

An initial declaration of a 45-day state of emergency on 19 July 2015, for the districts and provinces in the departments of Apurímac, Ayacucho, Arequipa, Cusco, Huancavelica, Lima, Moquegua, Pasco, Puno and Tacna was made in response to the cold wave sweeping through Peru. On 5 August, the government escalated its original declaration of a state of emergency nationwide. On 6 August 2015, weather forecasts predicted that the night-time low temperature on 9 August will be -18 Celsius in areas located 4,400 metres above sea level.

Approximately 165,710 people are affected and 100 are homeless due to this cold front in the departments of Apurimac, Ayacucho, Cusco, Huancavelica, Junín, Pasco, Puno and Tacna. In addition, 529 homes are damaged, 11 have collapsed and 11 have been rendered uninhabitable. Frost has affected the health of the population including livestock.

According to the National Civil Defence Institute, 65,834 animals are reported dead and 938,813 animals have been affected. In terms of agriculture, 1,162 hectares of crops have been lost, and 1,894 hectares have suffered damages. (IFRC, 7 Aug 2015)

Relief operations were still ongoing at the end of August in the departments of Apurimac, Huancavelica, and Puno. (Gov't of Peru, 27 Aug 2015, 21 Aug 2015, 26 Aug 2015)

Early September, after reporting numerous snowfalls affecting population and cattle in the Andes, the government announced temperatures could reach -18° C in the highest regions, with cold winds particularly affecting the departments of Apurímac, Arequipa, Ayacucho, Cusco, Junín, Moquegua, Pasco, Puno, Tacna, and Lima. (Gov't of Peru, 6 Sep 2015)

As of mid-September, low temperatures and snowfall had affected at least 480,000 people in nine regions of central and southern Peru over the last few months, leaving 1,200 people homeless, nearly 130,000 ha of crops damaged, and eight people dead in Puno and Pasco regions. (ECHO, 16 Sep 2015)

The region of Huancavelica was also affected by low temperatures and humanitarian relief was delivered to affected families (Gov't of Peru, 22 Sep 2015)

In October the Government presented a plan to mitigate the effects of El Nino, including low temperatures, in the southern departments of the country (Arequipa, Puno, Apurímac, Cusco, Junín). (RedHum, 14 Oct 2015)

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