Haitian leaders estimated Wednesday that tens of thousands of people have died in the aftermath of the earthquake that throttled this impoverished Caribbean nation, as the United States and other countries mobilized a vast rescue and relief effort to assist the legion of desperate survivors.

Untold numbers of people remained trapped under rubble a day after the 7.0-magnitude quake struck the capital, Port-au-Prince, a coastal sprawl of makeshift shacks, cinder-block buildings and historic gingerbread homes that witnesses described as a scene of unfolding chaos. Washington Post

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