A little girl in Peru - nicknamed the "Little Mermaid" because she was born with legs fused together - celebrated her first birthday in a Lima public hospital Friday awaiting corrective surgery.

Milagros Cerron, whose first name means "miracles" in Spanish, was born with a rare congenital defect known as sirenomelia, or "mermaid syndrome". Most babies born with the deformity die within days because of serious defects to vital organs. No more than three people with the defect are known to be alive today.

Physicians hope to conduct the first of a number of operations on little Milagros in two months, if they can control recurring problems caused by kidney deformities.

Despite her condition, Milagros Cerron appeared happy during her birthday celebration, complete with balloons and a birthday cake.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.