Peru promises to build 32,000 thermal homes for people in the frigid Andes

By June 17, 2022

Peru’s Ministry of Housing, Construction and Sanitation plans to build almost 32,000 bioclimatic houses between 2022 and 2024 in the high Andean areas of 10 regions, in order to protect the population from extreme cold.

In 2022, the government will invest 218 million soles (about USD $57 million) to finance the construction of 7,942 “Sumaq Wasi” thermal houses, which will benefit 31,770 residents of the regions of Pasco, Ucayali, Junín, Puno, Cusco, San Martín, Loreto, Huánuco, Ayacucho and Huancavelica. 

By the year 2023, another approximately 8,000 thousand homes will be built and by 2024 the remaining 16,000 will be constructed. Those receiving the homes will also participate in their construction, according to the Ministry. 

The Sumaq Wasi dwellings, which in Quechua means “beautiful house,” help capture the heat of the day and keep it in the house at night, at an average temperature of 14 degrees Celsius (57 degrees Fahrenheit). The homes aim to improve the quality of life of low-income families in rural Andean communities.

The beneficiaries participate in the construction of the thermal house. Credit: Courtesy of ANDINA

In addition to providing thermal comfort, the houses are reportedly earthquake resistant. 

Claudio Hancco, supervisor of the Ministry of Housing, said that 1,371 Sumaq Wasi homes are currently being built in 21 districts of seven provinces in Puno, the region most affected by the extreme cold.

“With these houses we reduce respiratory diseases and deaths as a result of frost, especially in children and older adults,” Hancco told the newspaper El Peruano.

Earlier this week, Peru’s National Service of Meteorology and Hydrology (Senamhi) declared weather alerts in Puno, after it registered temperatures of -21 degrees Celsius (-5 degrees Fahrenheit) in some places.

Puno’s Regional Health Directorate reported that six people died from pneumonia and that cases of acute respiratory infections increased by 50%. It is estimated that the frosts will persist until July.

Bertha Cusacani, one of the beneficiaries of the Sumaq Wasi houses in the town of Conchaca (Puno), said: “Before we used seven blankets to protect ourselves from the intense cold, but now we live in a nice and warm house.”

According to the Ministry of Housing, the construction of 8,000 Sumaq Wasi houses valued at more than 267 million soles (about USD $70.8 million) is projected for 2023; and by 2024, a total of 16,000 Sumaq Wasi for more than 5.34 million soles (about USD $1.4 billion).