The death toll of an earthquake measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale that hit Guatemala’s Pacific Coast has climbed to 52 with about 20 still missing.
Media reports on Thursday quoted emergency services on the casualties, saying that almost a third of the dead are children and at least 150 people have been injured.
The quake hit on Wednesday, followed by 30 aftershocks that struck San Marcos and the region near the border with Mexico. According to a firefighter coordinator, the people had died under the collapse of homes and landslides from nearby mountains.
Guatemala’s President Otto Perez Molina alerted and put into action 2,000 soldiers and 500 police forces to rescue survivors and clean up disaster areas.
The president who was newly elected last January flew into San Marcos. “It is a great sadness to people who are waiting to find their relatives that are still buried,” he said.
People also felt the earthquake in Mexico and Nicaragua, where a tsunami alert was raised. Salvadoran President Carlos Mauricio Funes Cartagena ordered an evacuation in the country’s Puerto de la Libertad and other western coastal towns.
The region has a history of earthquakes, around 10,000 people from Mexico City were killed in 1985 and about 23,000 people from Guatemala died in 1976.
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