Bodies unburied, bottlenecks at the city's airport and an atmosphere of increasing frustration and desperation among the population. This is the scene which confronted the Today programme's Mike Thomson when he arrived in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, four days after the earthquake which is estimated to have killed upwards of 50,000 people.
"No amount of Port-au-Prince's endemic violence and corruption has ever brought destruction, suffering and loss of life on this scale," he reports. But, he adds, the will to survive is as strong as ever.
Interviewed on the programme, Commander Ron Flanders of the US 4th Fleet, based in Florida, said that the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson was acting as a sea-base from which the navy could deliver supplies to the island. "Our main goal," he said, "is to ease suffering and prevent loss of life".