Although the general media has been focusing on the scant cases of AH1N1 flu in Peru, there is still very little coverage (with the exception of a few brave TV reporters such as Monica Cepeda) of the approximately 140 children who have died this year of pneumonia.
Pneumonia is a treacherous complication of the seasonal flu caused by the low temperatures in the Southern part of the country, especially in the Puno region.
According to Peru’s Health Minister (Oscar Ugarte), the region with the highest death rate is Puno, followed by Cusco, Loreto and Huancavelica.
In Imata, a village located in Puno at 4,500metres over sea level, the temperatures recently dropped to -19°C (-2.2°F) and the winds were recorded blowing at up to 60kph.
Most families in these Puno and Cusco highlands make their living by farming, especially llamas and alpacas. But the extreme temperatures are killing even these strong animals, and causing acute respiratory infections (ARI’s) among the children.
Since most of these children are chronically malnourished, they are very vulnerable to pneumonia, which can easily prove to be fatal.
Now, after a few very good TV reports on the matter, many Peruvians are expressing their willingness to help the children in the highlands. However, due to previous bad experiences, many people are uncertain as to the best way to get their donations to legitimate organizations.
There is a way in which Living in Peru readers can help.
Please join us in donating winter clothes to Caritas Felices Association, which will send a truck to Cusco and Puno with the items collected around the 20th of June.
If you have some old jackets, sweaters, hats, blankets, etc., cluttering up your closet space, now is the time to put these items to good use! We all have articles of clothing that we haven’t used in years, why not donate these articles and maybe save a life in the process?
Donations can be taken during normal business hours (10AM-5PM) to:
-Condor Travel Agency (Armando Blondet 249, near Canaval y Moreyra in San Isidro).
-San Isidro: Ugarte y Moscoso 710 San Isidro (behind Salaverry Pharmax)
-Monterrico / La Molina: Las Amatistas 151 – dpto # 201, altura cdra. 7 Av. Circunvalación El Golf Los Inkas (in front of the club, next to the Vivero)
Money Donations can be made through:
Asociación Civil Sin Fines de Lucro Condor Travel- Wings accounts:
BBVA Continental Bank
Living in Peru and the Children of Cusco and Puno thank you!
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