Haitian children severely malnourished

PORT-AU-PRINCE -- With arms and legs so skinny they look like twigs, 2-year-old Davidson Pierre has to struggle just to sit. So he remains sprawled on his back and stares listlessly at the ceiling. He doesn't smile. He doesn't cry.

For eight days now, the boy has been on a high caloric diet of enriched milk and doctors say his fragile body is responding.

Davidson, like the others at the makeshift Martissant children's malnutrition clinic run by Doctors Without Borders, shows all of the telltale signs of extreme malnourishment — stunted growth, brittle orange hair, skinny arms and legs and bloated bellies.

''When we found them, they were nearly ready to die,'' Max Cosci, the head of a Belgian contingent of Doctors Without Borders, said surveying the room of acutely malnourished children and their worried mothers. "Now they are doing much better.''

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