Twelve young children under the age of five have died in Puno, and another eight children in Cusco, from respiratory infections in the past several weeks of freezing temperatures and snow.
According to the Puno regional health office, the children in Puno were reported in different areas that lie above 4,000 meters in Azangaro, Carabaya, Lampa and Yunguyo. In Cusco, 29 adults also died, most of them seniors.
Freezing temperatures and snow have affected most of the southern highlands, with temperatures dropping below -20º Celsius (-4ºF) this week in some areas.
The regional health office reported providing medical attention to 43,244 children under the age of five with acute bronchial infections, and 511 children with pneumonia.
Meanwhile, in Arequipa the regional epidemiology office has reported 75 cases of H1N1 flu. Most of the patients are children above the age of 10 and adults between the ages of 30 and 59.
The government has stepped up emergency services for medical and agricultural programs throughout the south. Schools have also pushed back opening hours, allowing children to get to school an hour later in the morning.
The Education ministry has also put together learning kits to be used for home schooling in cases where children need to stay home because of the cold and snow. The kits include tools for teachers to use in providing socio-emotional support to elementary students.
The Agriculture ministry has created veterinary kits, which are being supplied especially to the small breeders of cattle, camelid and sheep in the highest areas of Junin, Pasco, Cusco and Puno.