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Freezing temperatures in Peru threaten children

NEW YORK, 28 July 2003 – UNICEF is rushing emergency medicine, blankets and baby bodysuits to children in Puno, Peru, where thousands of young lives are in danger because of extreme weather. 

UNICEF Country Represenative Andres Franco and the Peruvian Minister of Health, Mr. Alvaro Vidal, travelled with the relief effort to Puno to deliver much-needed antibiotics for the treatment of respiratory diseases and pneumonia (3,000 units of Sulfametoxasol-Trimetropin and 2,000 units of Amoxicilina), as well as 2000 insulated body suits for infants, and 360 blankets for small children.

Franco has been meeting with local officials to identify areas of greatest risk  - mainly located in zones more than 4,000 meters above sea-level where temperatures have already dropped to below 8-C.  UNICEF is also supporting mobilization brigades to reach children and families in the most remote regions.
While statistics in Puno indicate that cases of infant mortality due to acute respiratory infections have been registered in the period between May -  19 July 2003 are down from 53 in 2002, UNICEF is still concerned. 

“Our efforts are focused on stopping a dangerous situation becoming a full-fledged emergency,” said Franco, “We’re doing what we can, but Mother Nature is unpredictable.  It’s a case of keeping our eye on the thermometer and being ready to move if more help is needed.”  Another region, Cuzco, is also at risk; UNICEF officials will be visiting the area  next week.

For further information, please contact:

Kate Donovan, UNICEF Media, 212 326 7452




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