Ecuadorians in Danbury Concerned for Families, Friends Back Home

The death toll continues to rise after a seven-point-eight magnitude earthquake rocked Ecuador Saturday night. The Justice Department confirms at least one American is among the 270 casualties. More than 2,500 were injured.

 Roughly 20,000 Ecuadorians live in Connecticut. The majority, seven to eight thousand, live in Danbury. Danbury resident Milton Pauta said his family members are all accounted for but they felt the earthquake that hit Manabi Province, Saturday night.

 "They cry a lot because they saw the news and they say that's something they never think that can happen something like that," said Pauta.

 Though the quake hit in a sparsely populated region, its effects were far-reaching.

 "They say they feel it all around the country," Pauta said.

 Luis Bautista's family lives in Guayaquil. There, some 300 miles from the epicenter, an overpass collapsed on a car, killing one person .

"We all, Ecuadorians, worry about situation because it's many people lose families, lose houses," said Bautista.

Bautista, who owns Il Milenio restaurant in Danbury said tragedy has been on the minds of many of his customers.

"I'm worried about all these persons who has lost families, who has lost, lost a house, lost everything," said Bautista.

The owner of La Bahia Travel in Danbury is on vacation in Santo Domingo. Yoland Vega told Pauta that the badly damaged city, is still waiting for help to arrive.

"You know we want to give everything, everything what we can," said Pauta.

However, he explained that several months ago the Ecuadorian government began restricting donations into the country, making it difficult to send clothing or medicine. While they wait for those restrictions to be lifted, they've begun to collect monetary donations at the Ecuadorian Civic Center, which they plan to donate to the Red Cross. The center will hold a fundraiser on Sunday beginning at 8:000 a.m..

"Everybody here we are sad, worried about what's going on there," Pauta added.

The Ecuadorian Consulate planned to update residents on the emergency needs and conditions in Ecuador during a meeting in New Haven Monday night.

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