The polar wave that has trapped the Southern Cone of South America has caused an estimated one hundred deaths and killed thousands of cattle, according to the latest reports on Monday from Argentina, south of Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile and Bolivia.
Deaths were caused by hypothermia or gas intoxication from defective burners and heaters.
In the south of Brazil and central Paraguay thousands of cattle have been reported dead, while in the south of Chile an agriculture emergency was declared and in Buenos Aires at the peak of the winter season, tens of regional flights had to be canceled because of the extreme weather conditions leaving thousands stranded in the Argentine capital.
At least 2,700 cattle have died because of cold in Mato Grosso do Sul, according to the latest numbers released by the Iagro (State Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Protection). Not since 1979 had so many animals died from cold in the area.
In Argentina the number of dead from hypothermia reached twelve plus another 33 intoxicated with carbon monoxide.
Bolivia reported 18 deaths because of freezing temperatures, most of them in EL Alto next to the capital La Paz, one of the highest cities of the world.
Even the east of the country which is mostly sub-tropical climate has been exposed to frosts and almost zero freezing temperatures.
To prevent contagion from flu and other illness the Bolivian Ministry of Education suspended schools until Wednesday. Weather forecast is for the freezing climate to continue until August with cyclical peaks.
In southern Brazil at least 19 homeless died of hypothermia, and in the city of Urupema, next to Argentina, temperatures dropped to a record minus 7.8 Celsius (18 degrees Fahrenheit). In the Amazon basin in some cities thermometers dropped to minus 7 Celsius (19.4 degrees Fahrenheit) last Saturday.
In Santiago de Chile freezing temperatures reached minus 2 Celsius (28.4 Fahrenheit) killing several homeless and intoxicating two families with malfunctioning burners.
But in the region of Aysen, 1.600 km (1000 miles) to the south of Santiago, villages are covered in snow and isolated; thousands of cattle and sheep are short of food and minimum temperatures dropped to minus 15 Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit).
An agriculture emergency has been declared in Aysen; the main airport at Balmaceda has been closed for a week and several small towns have no power.
Paraguay so far has reported nine dead because of freezing weather, mostly homeless, and in the capital Asunción the government has opened refuges to host people overnight.
In Uruguay, one death has been reported and temperatures in the center of the country dropped to minus 5 Celsius (23 degrees Fahrenheit) while the prices of fresh fruit and vegetables have soared.
In Peru, which is more exposed to cold climate, so far 104 people have been reported dead because of pneumonia and respiratory diseases, caused by freezing temperatures and poor medical attention.
Although impressive these numbers are considered “normal” by Peruvian sanitary authorities for this time of the year.