updated 1/15/2010 11:55:24 AM ET 2010-01-15T16:55:24

Scores of U.S. citizens desperately waved their passports in a chaotic scene Friday at the airport of Haiti's devastated capital.

U.S. soldiers were sorting the Americans for evacuation, pulling Canadian, French and other citizens from the crowd.

Muriel Sinai, a 38-year-old nurse from Orlando, Fla., said she'd been at the airport without food or water since Wednesday — "We've had people crying, people passing out."

Beatrice Aristide, holding her 19-month-old daughter Stephanie in her arms, added: "I don't know how much longer we can stand."

People without citizenship were angry. Vladimir Lexus, a 23-year-old musician who lives in Miami, said: "I can't believe this!"

The scene unfolded as the State Department raised the number of confirmed deaths of Americans in Haiti to six.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Friday that in addition to the previously reported death of State Department employee Victoria DeLong, there have been at least five other confirmed U.S. deaths — all private U.S. citizens whose names have not been released publicly.

'Steady stream'
Crowley said the U.S. death toll is going to rise further, but he offered no estimate. DeLong, a cultural affairs officer at the U.S. Embassy, was killed when her home collapsed in the earthquake.

Meanwhile, the U.S. ambassador to Haiti said the embassy is doing its best but has no way to check on the 40,000 or more Americans estimated to be in the country. The State Department says it's been in contact with only about 1,000 U.S. citizens.

About 450 Americans have been evacuated since Tuesday's disaster. Ambassador Kenneth Merten said "a steady stream" of U.S. citizens has been showing up at the airport and embassy seeking help leaving the country, but so far not in overwhelming numbers. Merten spoke Friday on NBC's TODAY show.

Because of severe damage at the port of Port-au-Prince, the airport has been the focal point of relief efforts and has become a bottleneck for aid . The FAA halted nonmilitary air traffic from the United States for eight hours on Thursday because the airport couldn't handle the number of planes arriving.

"There's only so much concrete," U.S. Air Force Col. Buck Elton said. "It's a constant puzzle of trying to move aircraft in and out."

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