The death toll from the powerful earthquake that battered Guatemala has climbed to 48, according to the latest figures provided by President Otto Perez Molina.

A total of 39 people died in San Marcos province, which was hardest hit by the temblor; eight others in Quetzaltenango; and one person in Solola, all located in western and northwestern Guatemala, the president said in a press conference Wednesday night.

At least 23 people remain missing, 155 others were injured and more than 17,000 were affected by the earthquake, Perez Molina said.

Earlier Wednesday, he declared three days of national mourning for the victims and urged people to resume their normal activities on Thursday, although he said the country remains in a state of alert for possible powerful aftershocks.

Emergency workers, meanwhile, resumed their rescue efforts early Thursday.

The quake, which struck at 10:35 a.m. Wednesday and was listed by the U.S. Geological Survey as magnitude 7.4, is the strongest to hit Guatemala since the Feb. 4, 1976, magnitude 7.5 temblor that claimed the lives of more than 25,000 people and caused millions of dollars in damage.

The epicenter of Wednesday's temblor was located offshore, 24 kilometers (14 miles) south of the Pacific coast town of Champerico, the USGS said.

The quake also was felt strongly in El Salvador and parts of southeastern Mexico. EFE