A three-month-old baby girl died in the early hours of Friday morning just a few metres from the Casa Rosada, the seat of Argentina’s government.
A statement from the SAME emergency services of Buenos Aires City said that the baby was the child of a homeless family that had spent the night sleeping rough on Avenida Paseo Colón, close to the Economy Ministry.
The body of the minor, which was covered by a red gazebo as police officers awaited medical examiners, remained in the area until 9am before being taken away in an ambulance.
Initial reports said that the family had approached police officers in the early hours of Friday morning, when one of them woke up and realised that the baby was struggling to breathe.
At around 5am, federal police officers guarding the Casa Rosada alerted the Buenos Aires City police force and the emergency services. When paramedics arrived at the scene, the minor was in a pram and was not breathing nor responsive.
A local vendor who saw the event told local reporters that the parents had called for help and assistance after seeing that their baby was in distress. He said he had seen the mother and father in the area sleeping rough many times and that they had another child too.
"I know them from the street, but I don't talk to them. In 15 minutes the ambulance came and I knew it had died. I don't know much more," the man said in comments broadcast on the TN news channel.
The death of the young child is a gut-wrenching illustration of the devastating consequences of extreme poverty. It comes a day after a new government report revealed that 39.2 percent of the population was considered poor in the second half of last year, a rise of 2.7 points compared to the first half of 2022.
Eight percent were destitute or living in extreme poverty, with 54.2 percent of children under the age of 15 classified as poor. That equates to some 5.5 million children who do not have access to a basic food basket, in addition to goods and services considered essential for survival, such as access to clothing, transport, education and health.
According to data collected in the last national census, carried out in May last year by the INDEC national statistics bureau, more than 2,900 people live on the streets throughout Argentina, with more than 900 officially registered in Buenos Aires City.
Local prosecutors are now investigating the death.