Haiti. Up to 50,000 dead at this moment.

January 14, 2010

Port-au-Prince, Haiti (CNN) — Haiti’s capital awoke to increasing desperation Thursday morning, a day and a half after a devastating earthquake, with covered bodies piling up along streets and modern aspects of life, such as electricity, mostly missing.

The streets of Port-au-Prince resembled grainy black-and-white newsreels from World War II that showed the rubble of bombed-out houses in Berlin and London. The devastation was wide and often horrific.

A one-hour drive from the airport to a walled-in hotel where the CNN contingent is staying revealed the widespread destruction from Tuesday’s 7.0-magnitude earthquake.

Flattened and severely damaged houses were found on every block, and the streets were choked with pedestrians and residents. They set up overnight camps and slept by the thousands in dark and crowded parks and on sidewalks, for fear of being inside if another powerful quake hit.

Numerous aftershocks have rattled the capital.

Sporadic gunfire was heard Wednesday night outside the hotel where CNN is lodged.

Sirens could be heard at times, but the predominant sounds in the pre-dawn darkness were the shouts and screams from the thousands of people who spent the night in a dark park across the street. A rooster’s crowing could sometimes be heard above the din.

After electricity in the hotel was shut off at 1 a.m., CNN technicians worked on satellite equipment by flashlight.

The hotel resembles a compound, with razor wire topping eight-foot walls and a gated parking lot, guarded by a man wielding an old shotgun. And although the hotel’s residents seemed safe, and street violence had not been seen, there was a feeling of apprehension.

As dawn broke, residents wandered slowly through the streets, their destination unknown in a city with seemingly nowhere to go.

– Click to read more on CNN and walk the streets of Port-au-Prince

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