What happens in the first 36 hours after an earthquake is critical, according to aid workers, if as many lives as possible are to be saved.
As that deadline came and went, it was still principally Haitians themselves who were digging through the rubble in the search for the living and the dead.
But they are ill-equipped to deal with the thousands of tons of rubble from the quake which reduced buildings to a pile of concrete pancakes.
Those who did get out are counting their blessings.
One of the lucky ones said: “Today, I am alive. I am a survivor, but there are lots of dead everywhere. And I want to say to people abroad that in Haiti, we are victims.”
But international rescue teams have begun arriving with their specialised gear and aid. At the UN headquarters, American rescuers pulled another survivor from the wreckage.
But dozens of UN personnel are now confirmed dead, and 150 staff are missing.
The inability of this impoverished nation to cope is evident on every street. With nowhere to take them, the dead are left to line the pavements.
And those who did emerge with their lives are now facing the threat of disease, as the few doctors with little medicine struggle to keep up.
America is sending 3,500 troops and 300 medics.
But the clock is ticking for those still alive.
International help begins to arrive in Haiti