A man who once lived on Long Island was among the hundreds of people who died in a powerful magnitude 7.8 earthquake that devastated Ecuador over the weekend, his family said.
Many other Ecuadoran families in New York expressed frustration with the Ecuadoran consulate, which they say has been slow to provide information about survivors and ways to donate money and clothing to the relief effort.
In the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens, which has large a population of Ecuador natives, several residents were planning to make donations and clothing drives.
Officials in the South American country are working with U.S. agencies to help coordinate aid efforts. But New York City officials say communication has been a problem.
"They've been very slow in getting back to us on what they need," said Jackson Heights Assemblyman Francisco Moya, who is Ecuadorian.
The earthquake victims with ties to Long Island has been identified as former Patchogue resident Anibal Ulloa Espinoza and his wife Betty, who were both killed in the massive seismic event, which flattened buildings, ripped open roadways and left at least 413 dead and thousands more injured.
Ulloa Espinoza lived on Long Island for several years before moving back in the late 1990s.
His cousin, Jaime Hechtam-Ulloa, said she and her husband were devastated to learn about the 46-year-old's death.
"The plates of the earth were moving for the earthquake and they separated and he fell, him and his wife fell into the hole," she said. "When they were trying to get out, a wall fell on them and killed them."
Ulloa Espinoza's death was first reported by Newsday.
On Monday evening, hundreds of people eager to help crowded into the midtown Ecuadorian consulate offices. Several people had to be turned away because of overcrowding, and one emotional woman tried to force her away inside.
"Is your family without f------ slaughtered right now? Is your family without electricity?" she screamed.
The passionate turnout was no surprise to those in the Ecuadorian community. Karina Roman from the Bronx couldn't stay away.
"So many things that we can do from here," she said, crying. "Being in this country, we got a better chance to help."
The Ecuadorian consulate was telling New Yorkers Monday to visit its website to find ways to help, including a link to Red Cross to donate and a list of things they're looking for.
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