PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti—Haitians bereft of homes and loved ones held Sunday prayers in the streets of their earthquake-ravaged capital while rescue workers continued digging in the ruins for something like a miracle.
In front of the broken churches, which in some cases still harbored bodies, worshipers looked to powers beyond their grasp for help. "Don't pray for the dead," boomed Joel St. Amour, preaching outside the Evangelical Baptist Church. "Pray for the living."
On a day of prayer, earthly concerns such as food, water and security remained at the forefront.
Hungry residents jostled for rations that were fitfully making their way into the devastated capital, Port-au-Prince. There were scattered reports of looting in the city, but U.S. military officials said the streets were largely calm and that American troops who had been delivering goods were warmly received.
Security "is a concern and we are going to have to address it and we are going to have to provide a safe and secure environment in order to be successful with our humanitarian assistance mission," U.S. Army Lt. Gen. P.K. Keen said during an interview Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union with John King."
There were more signs Sunday that aid, which began to get to victims in any meaningful way only a day earlier, was reaching residents deeper into the city, despite a logjam of cargo at the Port-au-Prince airport. The U.N. peacekeeping mission, the World Food Program, Oxfam and International Committee of the Red Cross were all more visible than they had been in recent days.
At a tent city at the prime minister's mansion between Port-au-Prince and suburban Petionville, the Red Cross delivered water, a Chinese team of medics offered first aid, and the United Nations handed out hygiene kits.
Downtown, excavators began clearing out the mountains of wreckage. The U.S. Army secured the General Hospital during the afternoon, as doctors came in with aid groups and on their own.
"We're so short of alcohol we had to use vodka to clean our instruments," said George Boutin, an orthopedic surgeon from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "It's all crush injuries. Amputations. That's all I'm doing."
Still, the scene was very different from two days ago, when at least 2,000 bodies lay in the parking lot of the hospital, which also holds the morgue, and the dying lay unattended outside.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon traveled to Port-au-Prince to assess damage and discuss the organization's response to the quake, which by some early estimates has left more than 100,000 people dead and affected 3 million residents. At least 36 U.N. workers, including mission chief Hedi Annabi, were among the dead.
U.N. officials said Sunday that the organization has provided food for 60,000 people so far in Port-au-Prince.
Former President Clinton, the U.N. special envoy for Haiti, was expected to arrive in Port-au-Prince today for an inspection tour.
The earthquake, which hit the most densely populated corner of a deeply impoverished and troubled nation, has challenged the world's capacity to provide help quickly and effectively.
Despite the flow of aid and U.S. troops, hundreds of thousands of residents were still waiting for food, water and medical attention. The influx of relief supplies and rescue workers has stretched the Port-au-Prince airport, with one runway, and rubble-blocked roads have slowed delivery of supplies to neighborhoods in the greatest need.
Lt. Gen. Keen on CNN said that 1,000 U.S. troops were on the ground in Haiti and 3,600 more were working from naval vessels, including the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson, equipped with 19 helicopters that were being used to shuttle goods and equipment. The number of U.S. forces in or near Haiti is expected to increase to more than 12,000 by today.
Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division had delivered more than 80,000 bottles of water and 130,000 food rations, he said.
"We had a very good day yesterday," he said Sunday. About 600,000 rations are to arrive in coming days.