Mientras el país se prende fuego, esta niña Guarani se hidrata desde el suelo. Algo estamos haciendo mal como sociedad no?. 14 de diciembre #PosadasMisiones.

Posted by Migue Rios on Thursday, December 14, 2017

A heartbreaking photo of a tiny indigenous girl drinking from a filthy puddle in the blistering sun has prompted soul searching across Argentina and the wider Spanish-speaking world.

The toddler, from the Mbya Guarani people who live across Brazil and Argentina, was reported to be begging for money with other children in the city of Posados.

Mbya children are frequently sent into the north east Argentine city by their elders to beg for money.

This harrowing image was taken by a local journalist and gained notoriety when it was uploaded to Facebook by Unicef worker Migue Ríos.

"While the country is on fire, this little Guarani girl hydrates herself from the ground We must be doing something wrong as a society, mustn't we?"

In the comments section underneath the post, which has been shared almost 2,500 times, Rios confirmed that the child had been taken to see a doctor.

He added: "Why did I post the photo?

"So that we finally start talking as a society about a problem which we often don't do anything about because no-one highlights it, while those who should do something just carry on lining their pockets."

The photograph was taken by a photojournalist from Argentinian news site Misiones Online. The website wrote an explanation of the story behind the it, which read: "'A Misiones Online journalist was driving along Mitre Avenue when he stopped at a traffic light and saw the dire scene, which regrettably happens often in the centre of Posadas.

"Youngsters from the Mbya Guarani community are exploited by adults in their community and beg for money in the city. Although they're being helped, they resist when it comes to abandoning the area because their earnings are greater than what they could make in their villages.

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Argentina is a deeply divided nation EITAN ABRAMOVICH/AFP/Getty Images

"The journalist, who lives in the area, is used to seeing these sorts of things but he got out his camera and sent the photo to colleagues to see if more could be done to help them. Another colleague shared the images with a group of friends who managed to help them out with some things including water.

"These children were helped in that way, as are many families living on the streets in the city. Municipal and provincial governors help them on repeated occasions, even taking them back to the villages they come from, but they usually end up returning a short while later to beg for money again."

Argentina is among the top 30 most unequal countries in the world, according to data compiled by the US government.