Documenting Haiti: Port au Prince in photos

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti — Approaching Port au Prince, the signs of a real disaster became apparent — demolished buildings teetered at unreal angles, people in shock walked aimlessly through the devastated city with their remaining belongings balanced on their heads. Chaos reigned. Traffic was gridlocked as motorists fought for any remaining available fuel.

Most buildings were pancaked, as if a nuclear device had gone off. Corpses, four days old, burned in the street. The unforgettable, sickly sweet smell of death permeated the air.

Food, water, shelter, fuel and electricity were nearly non-existent. The order of the day was simply survival within chaos — a search for basic needs.

There were riots as relief began to trickle in; corpses, bloating in the tropical heat, began to pose health risks to the survivors and relief workers. Armed groups of men prowled for loot, while scavengers picked through the rubble searching for remnants of destroyed lives. Entire families perished inside their homes; the survivors walked the city center in a daze, overcome by grief. (See the aftermath of the quake in Haiti through another photographer's lens.)

As the scale of the disaster became clear, international media poured into the city, putting a further drain on already thin resources. Thousands of emergency amputations were performed in the first week, as compound fractures became infected. Medical specialists were in demand, and antibiotics were scarce.

Amid the horror and death, amazing stories of survival and resilience emerged — an 83-year-old man was pulled alive from the rubble, a young family dug themselves out and then began rescue efforts. Doctors and relief workers entrenched themselves for the long response and recovery effort ahead.

Following is a collection of images documenting the weeks after the disaster.

Photojournalist Tim Freccia traveled to Haiti on Jan. 14, two days after a 7.0 earthquake struck the country.