CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Thousands of Long Islanders have family in Mexico whom they have not been able to reach since the deadly earthquake this week – and now, many of them are doing all they can for the relief effort.
As TV 10/55 Long Island Bureau Chief Richard Rose reported Thursday, worried community leaders in Central Islip shared what little information they had Thursday about loved ones in harm’s way, following the quake that shattered Mexico City and surrounding regions.
“My family is in Mexico, and it’s heartbreaking because we weren’t able to reach our grandparents because of communications,” said Dulce Rojas of Middle Island, Suffolk County.
Rojas said she has learned her relatives are safe, but they have been unable to get back into the quake-ravaged neighborhoods to see if there is anything left to their homes.
Olga El Sehamy said her niece is a nurse working nonstop at one of the emergency rooms handlingmost of the quake casualties.
“She’s telling me they can’t even take care of the people coming in,” she said.
To do what they can, the women have organized a relief effort to collect nonperishable goods and basic medical supplies.
And they’ve only started collecting. They are hoping with the word out, the pile they have set up will grow to help those in desperate need.
“Toilet paper, blankets, and pillows for people who are sleeping out on the street,” El Sehamy said.
The community leaders said they are heartened by the images of hundreds and tireless first responders digging through dangerous and still collapsing debris, managing to pull dozens of quake victims out of the rubble.
“It’s definitely heartbreaking,” Rojas said. “I would love to be there to help people out.”
Already, donation drives have been set up at several Long Island schools and businesses, with hopes of flying a Long Island shipment directly into Mexico City as early as next Monday.
Meanwhile back in New York City, an Upper East Side Mexican restaurant is also doing its part to help with earthquake relief efforts.
As WCBS 880’s Myles Miller reported, Sammy Musovic owns Selena Rosa, at 1712 Second Ave. He said his staff has been glued to coverage of the earthquake.
“All they loved ones they have brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers over there,” Musovic said. “Some of them they haven’t heard anything. They don’t know if they’re still alive.”
The restaurant is donating 50 percent of the week’s proceeds to aid the relief effort.
“These people are struggling so much, so I’m basically, I just want to do anything I possibly can to just make their lives a little easier,” Musovic said.
At least 245 people have been killed with more than 2,000 hurt by the magnitude 7.1 quake. Numerous earthquake survivors were still trapped under the rubble of crumbled buildings and homes Thursday.