"We're not trying to run away from what we do," Batista said, adding that coordinating aid has been a challenge. "People looked desperate, people looked hungry, people looked lost."
Engineers from the U.N. mission have begun clearing some main roads, and law-and-order duties have fallen completely to the mission's 3,000 international troops and police.
Wimhurst, the mission spokesman, said Haitian police "are not visible at all," no doubt because many had to deal with lost homes and family members. The first U.S. military units to arrive took on a coordinating role at the airport.
Batista, the Food For The Poor project manager, went back to the Dominican Republic late Thursday and awaited the arrival of 100 shipping containers loaded with rice, canned goods and building supplies.
"I don't think that a word has been invented for what is happening in Haiti," he said. "It is total disaster."
Associated Press contributors to this story: Mike Melia, Jennifer Kay and Gregory Bull in Port-au-Prince; Alexander G. Higgins in Geneva; Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations; Tales Azzoni in Sao Paulo, Brazil; Danica Coto and David McFadden in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Adam Geller in New York; Matthew Lee and Pauline Jelinek in Washington.