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Andean snow kills six and livestock

Freezing temperatures and snow in the high plains of Peru and Bolivia have claimed at least six lives in the past week and killed more than 30,000 animals including sheep, llamas and alpacas.

Peru declared a state of emergency until September 20 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 defence chief Alfredo Murgueytio called it the worst weather in a decade in the country's south, with nearly 3ft of snow falling in the Puno district.

Meteorologist Nelson Quispe said the abnormal weather included the first snowfall in Chile's Atacama desert in 30 years.

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