Mourners bury family killed in Guatemala quake

Fri Nov 9, 2012 7:25pm EST
 

By Mike McDonald

SAN CRISTOBAL CUCHO, Guatemala (Reuters) - Ivan Vasquez cried as he hunched over the 10 wooden caskets of his parents, six siblings and two cousins who were struck down in a rock quarry collapse caused by this week's powerful earthquake.

Vasquez was studying to take an accounting exam when the 7.4-magnitude quake struck on Wednesday, killing his entire immediate family as they dug in the quarry for material to reinforce the walls of their adobe home.

Braced by friends and relatives as he neared collapse, the 18 year old dressed in a black sweater and dark jeans choked down water between screams.

"Why did you leave me," he sobbed. "You were all such good people."

Wednesday's quake was the most powerful to hit the Central American nation since 1976, when a 7.5-magnitude quake killed more than 20,000 people. The quake destroyed roads and forced evacuations as far away as Mexico City.

Officials estimate that 52 people have been killed and say at least three more are missing. Most of the dead were buried under debris in the San Marcos state, a mountainous region near the Mexican border.

Vasquez's father Egidio, 45, was well known around town as a skilled builder and president of the local sports association.

He left for work on Wednesday morning with his 43-year-old wife and their four sons, two daughters and two nephews aged between three and 14. When the earthquake struck, the quarry wall caved in, burying them all under tons of sand and rock.   Continued...

 
People carry to the cemetery the coffin of one of the four members of the De Leon family, who were killed during a landslide triggered by a 7.4-magnitude earthquake, in El Recreo, in the outskirts of San Pedro Sacatepequez in the San Marcos region, about 250 km (155 miles) away of Guatemala City, November 9, 2012. REUTERS/William Gularte