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Cold temperatures cause death, damage in South America

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • An intense cold front continues in Latin America
  • At least 18 people died because of the cold in Bolivia
  • More dead are reported in Paraguay and Uruguay
  • In Peru, alpacas died because of the weather
  • South America
  • Bolivia
  • Weather

(CNN) -- An intense cold front in southern Latin America continues to blanket the region, causing deaths, school and highway closures, and other woes.

A total of 18 people have died in Bolivia as a direct or indirect consequence of low temperatures, the Peruvian state-run Andina news agency reported. The deaths were spread out throughout the country.

On Monday, Bolivian officials said temperatures in the major city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra would reach 3 C (37 F), the lowest in 29 years, and in other regions the mercury dropped below freezing, Andina reported.

As a precaution, Bolivian authorities canceled school from Monday to Wednesday, the official Bolivian news agency ABI reported.

Police in Paraguay reported eight deaths from hypothermia and two from carbon monoxide poisoning from the use of heating devices. The government opened shelters for the poor, who are picked up at night by military trucks.

Paraguayan authorities also estimated that 1,000 cattle died because of the cold.

In Uruguay, local media reported two weather-related fatalities.

The cold front hit the region on Saturday and was responsible for eight deaths in Argentina over the weekend.

An area of low pressure in the southern hemisphere jet stream pushed deeper north allowing for cold Antarctic air to pool over Chile and Argentina. Below-normal temperatures are expected over the next 48 hours across the region.

Argentina reported Monday that nine of its provinces were feeling temperatures below freezing.

The intense cold will remain in the area at least through Tuesday, Argentina's official news agency, Telam, reported.

Similarly, in Peru, the country's southern Amazon region was experiencing the coldest weather in three years, Andina reported, citing the National Meteorological and Hydrological Service.

In the city of Puerto Maldonado, the temperatures fell to 9 C (48 F). In the Amazon region, the usual lows are in the 20s C (high-60s F).

The cold was also affecting farmers in the Peruvian city of Arequipa, in the Andes Mountains. With temperatures falling there to -17 C (1 F), the cold was too much for the region's Alpaca herds.

Pregnant Alpacas were losing their babies, and young Alpacas were dying, Andina reported. Some 10 percent of the region's 40,000 Alpacas were affected, the news agency reported.

CNN's Judson Jones and journalists Sanie Lopez and Dario Klein contributed to this report.