Local Ecuadorean communities react to deadly earthquake

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Joe Torres is live in the Woodswide section of Queens with the story

As the death toll continues to rise from the devastating earthquake in Ecuador, family members in Queens are waiting anxiously to hear from loved ones.

Search crews are still looking for survivors of Saturday's 7.8-magnitude quake, as worry and concern loom over the largest Ecuadorean community in the United States.

At the consulate office in Woodside, friends and family members came looking for answers. And if they didn't find them there, they went to the nearest Ecuadorean restaurant, where news coverage showed the devastation back home.

"All my family is fine over there, but I'm just trying to maybe buy something for them, for the people out there to support my country," Ecuadorean-American Manny Mancheno said.

The earthquake along Ecuador's central coast killed hundreds and injured thousands, and as rescuers clear the rubble and search for survivors, the effort to send equipment and supplies to the area is off to slow start.

George Henry Mendoza, a doctor, wishes he could be back home lending a hand in Guayaquil.

"We need medical professionals to help save lives," he said in Spanish. "We need to send blood and medicine from here."

Lawmakers looked to advance the effort.

"We are really looking for search and rescue teams to go and assist in the relief effort," Assemblyman Francisco Moya said.

Moya, the first Ecuadorean-American elected official in the country, said his family is OK, but he and his staff have already heard from constituents who lost family members or have loved ones who remain unaccounted for.

"They really need the equipment to get through the rubble and start really going after the people who have been missing," Moya said.

One family from West Sayville lost loved ones in the quake, and to see the tragedy there is really difficult.

"It's unbelievable that this happened to my family," Sergio Ulloa said. "We're so far away, and you can't do nothing. Just sit and watch."

He says his cousin Anibal was working on building a house in Ecuador when the ground below him cracked and split open.

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Kristin Thorne is with the family of a local victim

"The earth opened up, and he sink in one hole," he said.

He and his wife hung to the ground.

"They were trying to get out when a wall fell on top of them and killed them," relative Jaime Hechtman-Ulloa said.

The Ulloa family can't believe the pictures they're seeing of the destruction.

"We're having difficulty even calling because the Internet is up and down and up and down," Hechtman-Ulloa said.

The family decided they wanted to help, and they're arranging to send much needed supplies to Ecuador like bandages, food and clothing.

"People are suffering, not just our family," cousin Fausto Cando said. "All families there are suffering the same as us, and now, they need our help. If we have a chance to do something we will do it."

If you would like to donate supplies you can drop them off during regular business hours at the following Envios Espinoza locations:
Patchogue: 350 East Main Street
Farmingville: 828 Horseblock Road
Coram: 16-11 Middle Country Road
Selden: 1234 Middle Country Road

Related Topics:
earthquakeu.s. & world
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