52 dead, 22 missing in Guatemala quake

Nov. 8, 2012 at 3:48 PM

SAN MARCOS, Guatemala, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Rescue efforts in Guatemala are focusing on 22 missing people following Wednesday's 7.4-magnitude earthquake, authorities said.

Officials said the temblor, the strongest to strike the country since 1976, has killed at least 52 people and rendered 10,000 homes unlivable. The epicenter of the damage was in the San Marcos region on the border with Mexico, where 40 people were confirmed dead, the BBC reported Thursday.

In San Cristobal Cucho, a village 3 miles outside San Marcos, a family of 10 died when their house collapsed.

"The whole village is in mourning because an entire family was taken by God's nature. What can we do," said Mayor Pedro Cardona.

Many residents spent Wednesday night sleeping in the streets, afraid to return to their homes in the event of an aftershock. The search resumed at daybreak Thursday, in hopes of finding survivors trapped inside collapsed buildings.

Government officials estimated 73,000 people were left without power.

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