Officials in Lima said the deaths by freezing, pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses occurred around the high-altitude southern city of Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca, where the temperatures have dipped to minus 23 degrees Celsius in the past several days.
The number of cases of respiratory illnesses was rising rapidly as meteorologists forecast temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees for the coming days and weeks around Puno, which lies about 1,300 kilometres southeast of Lima.
The higher elevations in the poor Andean region are covered in ice and snow, and farmers have already lost at least 5 per cent of their alpaca herds.
Officials in the region have called on the national government to send aid such as medicine, food and blankets, adding that heating oil, animal feed and water are also urgently needed.
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Received by NewsEdge Insight: 07/14/2003 12:53:10
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