Lima - Officials say freezing temperatures and snow in the high plains of Peru and Bolivia have claimed at least six human lives in the past week and killed more than 30 000 domestic animals including sheep, llamas and alpacas.
Peru declared a state of emergency through 20 September for its southern mountains, where most of the animal deaths occurred.
The cold snap has affected about 80 000 mostly poor highlanders who depend completely on their livestock and crops, which also have been damaged.
Peru civil defense chief Alfredo Murgueytio calls it the worst weather in a decade in the country's south, with nearly three feet of snow falling in the Puno district.
Meteorologist Nelson Quispe said Sunday that the abnormal weather included the first snowfall in Chile's Atacama desert in 30 years.