How New Yorkers are helping out after Colombia flooding disaster

JACKSON HEIGHTS, Queens (WABC) -- An estimated 1.5 million Colombians live in the Tri-State area, and most of them are in Jackson Heights, or as they call it, 'Little Colombia.' So, when tragedy strikes thousands of miles away in Colombia, the community feels it.

It was a devastating blow delivered by mother Nature as heavy rains battered the Southwestern region of Colombia late Friday night.

"Our hearts go out to anybody who's going through any kind of suffering or loss," says Diana Loyola.

At the popular 'La Pequena' Colombian restaurant in the heart of the Colombian-American community in New York, there was the joyous sound of music during a Saturday night dinner, masking real concerns and hiding genuine worries.

"It's sad. It's very sad. We saw the images this morning, and It was really, really hard for many of us, and we really hope that there's something we can do, if there's anything we can do to help. We contacted family members to see if there's anything, if we can reach out," says Ziola Commando.

For now, all Colombian-Americans can do is wait and hope while rescue teams in Colombia dig through mud and clear downed trees and flattened homes in a desperate search for survivors.

Alejandro Tobar from Jackson Heights has family in the impacted area

"The people right now is very difficult to get food and destroyed their house...lost the people," Tobar says.

The Consulate General of Colombia in New York, meanwhile says officials are organizing ways to help.

Colombia's President is blaming climate change for this disaster, and says right now it is simply impossible to predict the death toll, but for obvious reasons, he expects that number to rise in the coming days.

To reach the Colombia Consulate of New York, call 888-764-3326 or visit their website by clicking HERE.
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