August 10th, 2011
04:20 PM ET

Cooper: 600,000 children are on the brink of starvation

600,000 children are on the brink of starvation, according to the United Nations. 600,000 children. That should be a headline in every paper, every newscast, every day as long as this famine lasts. It won't be of course, because we've come to accept these catastrophes as somehow inevitable events that we can't do anything about until it's too late. That's not true of course, but it's the way many perceive it. It isn't until we see pictures of dying children that we feel compelled to take action. Sadly those pictures aren't hard to find in Somalia today.

I spent part of today in a children's ward in a hospital in Mogadishu. I've seen children die before, but the shock of it, the silence of it, it is not something I ever get used to. Today was the first day I've found myself crying. Not in front of other people, but it's happened a couple of times throughout the day. I don't know why this day is any different, I don't know why the kids I saw today got to me more than those I saw yesterday or the day before.

Maybe it was the fact that there were so many kids coming to the hospital that they are now treating them in the hallways. Maybe it was the lack of medicine and supplies this hospital had. Maybe it was the one year old child named Ali who died today. His parents sat for two hours on the bed with his corpse unsure what to do. They couldn't afford to bury him, so they wrapped him in some cloth and just sat on the hospital's plastic mattress in silence. I didn't know what to say to them. What is there too say? I certainly didn't intrude on their grief and ask them questions.

600,000 children are on the brink of starvation according to the U.N., but they are not numbers. They are boys and girls, with parents who love them. They are children who are dying, and they've never even had a real chance at life.

We'll be broadcasting from Mogadishu tonight. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is in Kenya at what is now the world’s largest refugee camp. We'll also talk with Bono about solutions to this crisis, both short term, and long term. I hope you join us.

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Africa
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Simone Allen

    After I read this " Maybe it was the fact that there were so many kids coming to the hospital that they are now treating them in the hallways. Maybe it was the lack of medicine and supplies this hospital had. Maybe it was the one year old child named Ali who died today. His parents sat for two hours on the bed with his corpse unsure what to do. They couldn't afford to bury him, so they wrapped him in some cloth and just sat on the hospital's plastic mattress in silence."

    My heart and eye filled with tears. Death is what is surrounding us yet we fail to see it. I donated money today to this cause but I feel like that is not close to enough. What is 100 bucks going to do? Will it truely go to these ppl? I wonder If I paid for myslef to go there would I be able to do some type of help Aid work, teach them something or do I just sit here in my 150 thousand dollar hom with 4 rooms and no kids or husband to fill the house with. So much to do but where do I start? who do I contact to get over there? I would rather fight flyes and give my food to the starving then sit here and look at the fine walls.... Sometime nothing is better than everything......

    August 23, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  2. Donna L White

    Damn it Anderson,

    I contacted The World Food Program a month ago and told them to get an 800 number to collect donations. I do not use the internet to send money with my credit card nor do I text. I must represent a good number of people who do the same. My age group is in the 50 year old demographic. I wanted to send the largest donation to them, because your show said they were best at getting the food in. Instead I gave small donations to Doc's without Boarders and UNCEF. They never contacted me or got an 800 number. I still can not donate when I would. Get them an 800 number so it is easier to donate to them.


    August 11, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
  3. Joanna L. Ferris

    This story just breaks your heart every day. There are many of us Americans struggling to make ends meet, myself included, but we can not sit by and do nothing. I must do something. From everything I have read they saw this coming months and months ago, back in November. Where was the alarm then? Thank you for covering this story and giving it the much needed attention it deserves. Please keep covering it until there is no longer any famine to report.

    August 11, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
  4. Jedadiah McCrory

    I watched this until 3 in the morning last night. My wife and I need someone to contact to help this cause. We are willing to do anything necessary to help. We have been blessed in this country and cant watch others hurt like this. People in America need to step up and know that they can make a major difference even without having alot of money on hand. Im willing to stand outside of wal-mart day in and day out to try and collect money for these helpless children. I feel its time for us to drop our cell phone bills and anything else that we dont absolutely need and put it towards a cause that makes a difference. Please, all I need is a way to contact someone...

    August 11, 2011 at 11:25 am |
  5. Amanda P

    ask Bono , Cooper and Obama to give their money-, America has thrown money at this continent for decades and the money gets into the wrong hands, or ask the Muslim brother-the rich Saudis who suppress their own kind

    August 11, 2011 at 8:33 am |
  6. Ash

    The de-sensitisation of the modern human is complete. 1 dead in London is a better soundbyte since Somalia is so remote anyway. Very unfortunate.

    August 11, 2011 at 2:55 am |
  7. deb

    These chidren do not need to starve to death. It is not their fault. Even if everybody donated only $1.00 it would make a huge difference.

    August 11, 2011 at 12:36 am |
  8. ed

    Can't Bono airdrop some sandwiches.. jeez what good is being a mogul if you can't do anything but talk.?

    August 11, 2011 at 12:20 am |
  9. Jan

    My Dear Anderson,
    I have been watching for three days your reporting on Somalia and I have not seen any action information on how we can make contributions to help the people of Somalia. Love Bono. Where do we make donations? This amazing reporting should be hand-in-hand with 800 number or website where we can make donations. What is the best organization to make donations? Red Cross? Save the Children? World Vision? I apologize if I missed something, I would have expected to have an ongoing call to action for donations that included information on where to make the donation, Thank you so much for your ongoing coverage of the crisis in Somalia.

    August 10, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
  10. Fernanda

    Anderson is only one! He can't be in all places, covering all problems in the world. Do you think in Brazil we don't have hungry children?! I think Anderson goes where the situation is terrible, and there is anyone to care for this people! ANDERSON YOU ARE THE BEST!

    August 10, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
  11. David Johnston

    Just sitting here listenong to Bono. Hard to imagine amore pathetic hypocrite. What did U2 just gross on their tour, 250M? Theres 25% of what hes asking us to put in. Theres no way he's man enough to sacrifice for these poor kids. They'll starve, he'll have chateaubriand and have the gall to plead for cash. He should really shut up and put up. What a disgusting human being. Andersons no better. 11M a year and hes crying over these kids. Pathetic!!!!!!! These guys put on a great show. Bono says its disgusting that this is happening in the 21st century. I totally agree. What is also disgusting is that in this century. anyone pays this lowlife any attention at all. He's a major part of the problem. Get him off the air and on a jet load of food that he pays for and over to Africa, then he'll have some credibilty. Right now he just looks like an ass.

    August 10, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
  12. Jill

    There is no excuse for this type of situation in our world today. Nobody should be dying of starvation with all of the resources that are available in our world.

    I am shocked how many people just say to me "oh yeh, I heard about that, that's too bad" and shrug it all off as an evitable part of life. Difficult to fathom, but it just doesn't seem to sink in.

    So what will it take before people answer the call to action? Most people who have suffered themselves at some level seem to be answering the call, but what about the rest? What can we do to raise awareness of these shocking situations? In a twist of fate, anyone of us could have been the child lying in the hospital. That is something to think about long and hard, and meditating on that truth should spur us to action.

    August 10, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
  13. James in Canada

    How can be assured our donations are being sent to the right places?

    August 10, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
  14. Shannon Willey

    People start doing something!!!! We are shutting down our church for a Sunday and selling our stuff – the Canadian Goverment is matching every dollar right now!!! Please give

    August 10, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
  15. Carol Wright

    Want to donate via cell to Somalia relief. Please tell us how. In hospital with great medical care. Least I can do. Great reporting as always

    August 10, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
  16. Carol

    Let's send troops to Mogadishu where the troops are needed to help get food and aid to the people who the world has let starve.let's spend trillions of dollars to help these people instead spending it on the Iraq and Afghanastan wars. Stamp out hunger!

    August 10, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
  17. Keith

    Did we forget Black Hawk Down? They hate us! Why doesn't the Arab League of Nations or OPEC help them? I feel bad for them,but I also remember how much they hate us.

    August 10, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
  18. Sue

    Thank you for finally reporting on this awful state of being. This story and this story alone should be at the top of every news agency. There is no way in this time in history should this be going on anywhere in the world. Particularly these beautiful innocent people. No debt crisis nor wall streets drama can or should compare. Really wall street even in the worse crisis can not ever come close to the what these poor people are going thru. I have no extra money the last financial crisis has given me pay cuts "NO RAISES" in years, cuts instead my union negotiates my cuts not increases. Yet yes I am and will continue to give what little I can so these mothers and children and family's can at least have food to survive. I give to Doctors without Borders and have over the years. Great organization. I have been a single mom for 16 years working 2 jobs not rich but I am intellligent enough to recognize a real news story and worthy cause and purpose towards HUMANITY. Continue this kind of work please. Thank You

    August 10, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
  19. Jackie Fowler

    Anderson, just reading this, REALIZING the horror drove me to tears tonight. People need to realize that it could be your child laying on that hospital bed, how must it feel as a parent to be that helpless? What can we possibly do as a world society to prevent and help these situations from occurring?

    August 10, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
  20. vic , nashville ,tn

    “600,000 children are on the brink of starvation” heart breaking news
    Many doesn’t know what is going on rest of the world .I am glad you reporting the news
    Thanks Anderson

    August 10, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
  21. Nina

    Absolutely tragic so many children are starving to death. It makes one grateful for what we have.

    August 10, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
  22. Shawn

    Unless we become a conquering nation I fear there is little we can do. Sometimes you just need to go take the land and set up a new state.

    August 10, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
  23. marisa

    I just read an article that said many TV newsmen make about 13 million a year. You are talking to the model Iman, how much is she worth? And what about Africa helping their own?

    Do you understand what working class Americans are going through? I am laid off and about to run out of unemployment. I live in California.. the average apt where I live is $1800 rent. That is more than unemployment for the month. Americans are hurting.. stop sending our $$$$$ billions to all other countries immediately and send it to help the starving children. Then long range.. birth control!

    August 10, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
  24. Jennifer Markley

    When did humanity go wrong? When did it become about killing, and not loving one another? It is so sad that we can spend trillions of dollars to kill, but only millions to love. And I, as an American, am ashamed. We continue to let our lawmakers spend our hard earned money for a war we do not want, but nobody does anything to stop them. We all sit back and say "oh those poor children", but we do nothing to help. We have children here starving, but we do nothing. God help us all.

    August 10, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
  25. Katy Groff

    My children want to doante money to help the kids in Somalia- how do we get in touch with the WORLD FOOD BANK to figure out how to help the kids in Somalia? I can't find a link here with your report on where I can go to help. Thank you so much for the reporting, I just need to know how to contribute to the World Food Bank. Thank you.

    August 10, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  26. Dave

    If Bono is so concerned.... why doesn't he just send all of his money to Somalia.

    August 10, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  27. christina liebler

    Thank you CNN for covering this crisis. As far as I can tell, you are one of the very few. It just seems too easy to change the channel, turn the page, or simply pretend that things like this don't happen. Especially to real people, mothers, fathers and children just like yours and mine. Is there a human solution to this catastrophe? If so what do you think it is? I can't help but feel helpless.

    August 10, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  28. Joa

    This is very sad and I feel terrible for the country and the people. The US has always helped out other countries and I'm sure we will again. The problem I have with this, that most of us know that so many of the needy countries have a greedy and corrupt government. Therefore, the people that need the aid don't always get the benefit. That makes the people of the US not want to help. It's different when you can give help and see the benefits. We can't see this. That are also many people in the US suffering too. With today's economy, lack of jobs and loss of homes; not as many people have anything to give. The US needs to get their act together and provide for their own before again sending millions of our tax money to any country.

    August 10, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  29. jessicaber

    Has any one read the books by Dr. Tom Dooley? He was a good man back around the 50's who went to 3rd world countries had medicine donated to him and wrote about it. His legacy lives on. Please you guys should start taking out his books and reading them. We need to change the way that we as a country are thinking. They are right... there is no dignity to death by starvation. These are children and this will not be dignified.

    August 10, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  30. Josh

    I am sure Bono gives a ton of money to the relief funds, but it is also widely known that U2 has a billion dollars in the bank and I am sure Bono has a couple above average houses on several continents. I applaud him for the efforts, but if he was truly genuine, he, and other mega-millionaires, would downgrade their luxuries and be happy with having only petty $10M in the bank.

    August 10, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  31. Name*cheryl davis

    God bless you Anderson! I was crying just reading what you posted. All I can do for the children is pray as I have no money to give. I believe in the power of Prayer.

    August 10, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  32. Brad

    We live in a world where we become numb to all this. It's doesn't sound real to most people. We all have our face smashed in cell phones and on Facebook. It's sad but true. We need this in our face everyday to bring awareness and a clear cut way we ALL can help.

    August 10, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  33. hades65

    It would be better to spend your money on Africa in providing cash incentives for the poorest of the population to receive cash for sterilization. The cash sum would go far in the third world for positive environmental impact and the population would benefit in 20 years.

    August 10, 2011 at 5:11 pm |

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