175 die in South America’s freezing winter

By Jan-Uwe Ronneburger


Buenos Aires (dpa) – At least 175 people have died in the coldest

winter in South America in recent years, officials in six affected

countries said.  

The cold was worst in southern Peru, where temperatures in higher

altitudes of the Andes dropped to minus 23 degrees Celsius. Officials

said Monday that since the beginning of last week 112 people died of

hypothermia and flu. 

Argentina measured the coldest temperatures in 10 years. Sixteen

people froze to death and 11 died of carbon monoxide poisoning due to

faulty heaters. 

In Bolivia, 18 people died, in Paraguay five and two each in Chile

and Uruguay. Nine people died of the cold in southern Brazil.

Thousands of cattle also froze to death on their pastures in

Paraguay and Brazil. There are no stables for the animals as

temperatures usually do not drop that low. 

Several regions in Bolivia and Peru closed schools until the end

of the week and larger cities opened emergency shelters for homeless


Electricity and gas networks are operating at capacity limits in

many of the affected regions. Argentina reported natural gas

shortages in several provinces. 

The poorest population groups are worst affected by the cold spell

with their homes poorly equipped to deal with the cold, lack of

heating and access to health care.