Deutsche Welthungerhilfe (German Agro Action) is releasing 50,000 euros for the victims of the devastating cold snap in the Andean regions of Peru. The money will provide warm clothing, medicine, food and blankets for around 6,000 people within the week.

Shaded areas show where emergencies have been declared.

South America is experiencing unusually low temperatures, even for the winter season in the southern hemisphere. The result is snowfall -exceptional for this time of year - of up to 50cm. "The people here are resilient. They even wear sandals in winter," explains Jeanette Weller, Welthungerhilfe's Regional Director in Lima. "But they can't cope with temperatures like this."

Experts forecast the next cold snap in August and it's expected to be worse. The most badly affected parts of the country are those regions of the Andes above 3,500 meters where three million people have their homes. Due to the heavy snowfall, some villages are only accessible by air, impeding the distribution of supplies. As a result Peru has declared a state of emergency for half of its regions.

Reliable numbers on the victims of the cold snap are not available since not everybody is registered in the isolated Andean regions of Peru. Data from public authorities and non-governmental organizations vary from 67 to 167 deaths. The country was already hampered by unusually low temperatures in January and February. 60% of its farming produce was devastated in the process. There is now a danger of crop shortfall.

"The worst is still ahead", says Jeannette Weller. "Because crops are failing and farm animals are freezing to death, the food supply of many inhabitants in the Andes is extremely in danger."

The 50,000 euros come from the funds of the German Foreign Office.