(Jan. 17) — Violence is increasing on the streets of Haiti in the wake of last week’s devastating earthquake, as desperation gives way to looting and gang-related activity.

The United States planned to have 12,000 troops in the region by Monday to speed up relief efforts and quell the rising anger.

Looters armed with machetes and makeshift weapons were storming quake-ravaged storefronts and even ransacking coffins and piles of dead bodies in search of usable belongings. One man was killed Saturday when police opened fire on a mob scavenging for food at a Port-au-Prince market.

“They are desperate,” said Alain Le Roy, the United Nations undersecretary-general of peacekeeping operations, adding that the Haitian people have gone “days without food or any assistance.”

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