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Haitians piled bodies along the devastated streets of their capital Wednesday after the strongest earthquake in more than 200 years crushed thousands of structures, from schools and shacks to the National Palace and the U.N.
Women covered in dust clawed out of debris, stunned people wandered the streets holding hands. Thousands gathered in public squares singing hymns. Bodies were pulled from collapsed homes and covered along the streets.
Passersby lifted the sheets to see if a loved one was underneath. An estimated 3 million people may have been affected by the quake and that it would take a day or two for a clear picture of the damage to emerge.The United States and other nations began organizing aid efforts.
The international Red Cross and other aid groups announced plans for major relief operations. The quake struck at 4:53 p.m., centered 10 miles (15 kilometers) west of Port-au-Prince at a depth of only 5 miles (8 kilometers).
President Barack Obama offered prayers for the people of Haiti and said the U.S. stood ready to help.