BAIE D'ORANGE, Haiti — The slow road to death runs high above the scenic coastline, past the crumbled bridges and buried rivers. It traverses a jagged trail passing green slopes and red fertile dirt before arriving here: an isolated mountain village where little Haitian girls dream of eating rice and the doctor is a three-hour walk away.
This is the place where children, suffering from stunted growth, look half their age, where struggling mothers cry that their half-starved babies with the brittle orange hair — evidence of malnutrition — neither crawl nor walk.
'He doesn't cry, `Manman.' Or `Papa,' '' says Christmene Normilus, holding her visibly malnourished 2-year-old son, Jean-Roselle Tata.
In the last month, international aid workers and doctors have airlifted 46 children on the brink of death from this southeastern village and neighboring communities to hospitals in Port-au-Prince, and elsewhere in the south. The emergency intervention came after it was reported that 26 children from the Baie d'Orange region had died from severe malnutrition in the wake of the four successive storms that devastated Haiti in less than a month this summer.
But long before the deaths and hospitalizations plunged this poverty-stricken nation into the global spotlight amid fears of storm-related famine, the people of this farming community were already battling hunger.
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