On this day Haiti was struck by a powerful (magnitude 7.0) earthquake. The epicenter was located 25 kilometers from the capital Port-au-Prince, at a depth of 13 kilometers. In the next 12 days, at least 52 aftershocks were recorded in that area. Since it was a densely populated territory, as many as 316,000 people were killed, about 300,000 were injured, and 1,000,000 were left homeless according to reports of the Haitian government. Data from international organizations are somewhat different. According to them, the death toll was lower, but up to 1,800,000 people lost their homes.
The capital city of Port-au-Prince was badly damaged. The parliament, the presidential palace, the cathedral and the city jail were destroyed or heavily damaged. The archbishop of Port-au-Prince Joseph Serge Miot and opposition leader Micha Gaillard were killed in the earthquake. The situation was particularly dramatic given that Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.