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More troops arrive in Haiti

Photo by Ramon Espinosa

Photo by Ramon Espinosa

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Troops, doctors and aid workers flowed into Haiti on Monday, and officials said billions of dollars more will be needed following the quake that killed an estimated 200,000 people and left many still struggling to find a cup of water or a handful of food.

European nations pledged more than a half-billion dollars in emergency and long-term aid, on top of at least $100 million promised earlier by the U.S. The president of the neighboring Dominican Republic said it will cost far more to finally rebuild the country: $10 billion.

Help was still not reaching many victims of last Tuesday's quake -- choked back by transportation bottlenecks, bureaucratic confusion, fear of attacks on aid convoys, the collapse of local authority and the sheer scale of the need.

Looting spread to more parts of downtown Port-au-Prince as hundreds of young men and boys clambered up broken walls to break into shops and take whatever they can find. Especially prized was toothpaste, which people smear under their noses to fend off the stench of decaying bodies.

At a collapsed and burning shop in the market area, youths used broken bottles, machetes and razors to battle for bottles of rum and police fired shots to break up the crowd.

''I am drinking as much as I can. It gives courage,'' said Jean-Pierre Junior, wielding a broken wooden plank with nails to protect his bottle of rum.

Even so, the U.S. Army's on-the-ground commander, Lt. Gen. Ken Keen, said the city is seeing less violence than before the earthquake. ''Is there gang violence? Yes. Was there gang violence before the earthquake? Absolutely.''

U.S. officials say some 2,200 Marines were arriving to join 1,700 U.S. troops now on the ground and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced Monday he wants 1,500 more U.N. police and 2,000 more troops to join the existing 7,000 military peacekeepers and 2,100 international police in Haiti.

While aid workers tried to make their way into Haiti, many people tried to leave. Hundreds of U.S. citizens, or people claiming to be, waved IDs as they formed a long line outside the U.S. Embassy in hopes of arranging a flight out of the country.

Dominican President Leonel Fernandez, hosting an international meeting to plan strategy for Haiti, said it would cost $10 billion over five years to reconstruct the country and confront the immediate emergency.

Roughly 200,000 people may have been killed in the magnitude-7.0 quake, the European Union said, quoting Haitian officials who also said about 70,000 bodies have been recovered so far.

EU officials estimated that about 250,000 were injured and 1.5 million were homeless.