11/08/2012 06:15 pm ET Updated Nov 09, 2012

6-Year-Old Boy Among Dozens Dead After Guatemala Earthquake; Death Toll Climbs To 52

Among the dozens dead in Guatemala following the 7.4-magnitude earthquake that struck Wednesday morning is a 6-year-old boy who had gone to "work" for the very first time.

According to CNN, 6-year-old Giovanni accompanied his grandfather to work at the local sand quarry near his house in southwestern Guatemala on Wednesday morning. It was the first time that Giovanni had tagged along with the older man.

The news agency writes:

The school year had ended, and the boy was bored. He begged his mother to let him accompany his grandfather to the quarry in the San Marcos department.

His mother...had doubts about letting the boy go, but relented because his grandfather and uncle both worked there and could keep an eye on him.

Giovanni's uncle and grandfather were just about to begin their workday when the powerful temblor hit.

At least 52 people have been reported dead in the aftermath of the earthquake, which also damaged more than 2,000 homes. Giovanni, his uncle and grandfather all perished in the disaster.

"I want to see Giovanni! I want to see Giovanni!" the boy's mother had begged of rescue workers, according to Fox News. "He's not dead. Get him out."

President Otto Perez Molina said the earthquake affected as many as 1.2 million people.

"They have no drinking water, no electricity, no communication and are in danger of experiencing more aftershocks," Perez said during a news conference. The president said "there had been 70 aftershocks in the first 24 hours after the quake, some as strong as magnitude 4.9."

According to Fox News, Perez flew to San Marcos "to view the damage in [the] lush mountainous region of 50,000 indigenous farmers and ranchers, many belonging to the Mam ethnic group."

"One thing is to hear about what happened and another thing entirely is to see it," the president told The Associated Press. "As a Guatemalan I feel see mothers crying for their lost children."

Giovanni was not the only youngster who was killed in the quake. According to the Associated Press, a 3-year-old child and five of his young siblings were killed at a rock quarry and a 6-year-old girl who had been "playing" when the temblor struck died after a wall fell on her.



Guatemala Quake