South Florida Ecuadorians Helping Victims of Destructive Earthquake

With thousands of Ecuadorians living in South Florida, one group is raising awareness and collecting donations for those affected by the recent earthquake that struck their homeland.

Images of destruction out of Ecuador worry many in South Florida's Ecuadorian community. Inside an Ecuadorian restaurant in Doral, all eyes are on the TV's to learn about the latest tragic developments.

"My family, they're okay, but worried, nervous, and sad," said Ecuadorian Jorge Jacome. "It's been a long way since Ecuador hasn't had this type of disaster."

Another Ecuadorian thanks Facebook's safety check feature he was able to find out his loved ones are okay in Guayaquil, where a bridge collapsed.

"That's the way how I see because there was no electricity, no cable company, no whats app," said the local Ecuadorian. "There is a good thing about Ecuador. when something like that happens, everyone works together."

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Saturday night near the countries' west coast. President Rafael Correa declared a state of emergency and says more than 230 were killed. Government officials believe more than 1,500 people are injured.

The disaster is very present in the minds of local Ecuadorians who hung up their flag with a black ribbon as a symbol of mourning. They now hope to make a difference by raising money, food, and items to send to those most in need.

Several musicians present intend on planning a benefit concert to raise more funds. AT&T will waive charges of calls from US to Ecuador until April 22. SKYPE is also offering free calls.

If you'd like to donate you can visit the Ecuadorian Consulate, or drop by 7061 NW 87th Avenue in Miami where there will be a large container for donations.

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