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.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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