Tens of thousands of people have been left stranded by snow in southern Peru after the region experienced its worst weather for a decade.

Two people have died in the province of Carabaya due to the extreme conditions, local officials said.

One of the victims, a 75-year-old man, was killed in southern Carabaya when the roof of his house collapsed under the weight of snow.

Three people were rescued from the same region on Saturday after their home was cut off by the snowfall.

Rescue workers said the three, two girls and an elderly woman, suffered frostbite and snow blindness.

Peru's President Ollanta Humala declared a 20-day state of emergency in nine provinces, before travelling to Apurimac, one of the worst-hit areas, to oversee the distribution of emergency aid.

The main route from Arequipa and Puno was closed due to fierce weather, leaving at least 100 vehicles stranded.

Heavy rain and icy cold temperatures have made roads impassable, police said.

More than three feet of snow has hit this region in recent days, with temperatures falling below -15C in several provinces in Puno since early August.

Forecasts predict the wintry conditions will continue in Puno and other southern regions.

At least 33,000 other people have been adversely affected by the cold spell, local officials say.

Around 250,000 alpacas have died from cold and starvation, with tens of thousands of llamas, cattle and sheep also perishing in the freezing conditions, leaving farmers destitute.

The government pledged to do all it can to prevent further such deaths.

"We're providing 5,000 bales of hay that have been distributed in different districts and here in the province of Carabaya, we're also giving them vitamins, 12,000 doses for the alpacas," said a government official in Carabaya.

Other South American countries have also been affected by the cold front. In Bolivia, eight people lost their lives, while in Paraguay, two people are believed to have died of hypothermia.