West New York holds candlelight vigil for Ecuadorian-Japanese quake victims


“We do have family, we lost distant family members as well.  So it’s just devastating,” says Stephanie Ross, of West New York.

Ecuador and Japan are regions prone to tectonic activity.

“No one chooses where they’re going to be born,” says West New York resident, Patrick Cullen.  “We’re fortunate not to have to experience that, but now we have to roll up our sleeves and do something.”

They want to show Ecuador is an important place and it matters to a lot of people.

“G-d throws things at us for a reason; there’s a reason why everything happens so ya know, G-d will know why he does things,” says Emily Suarez, of North Bergen.

It’s about support and encouragement for this community left reeling from the growing death toll.

“I found out about it two hours after the disaster; we started mobilizing,” says Mayor Felix Roque.  “The Ecuadorian community is a very, very close community.”

“A lot of friends,” David Laad, of Edgewater says of those still in in Ecuador. ‘We’re very sad because they’re suffering right now, that’s the idea to be here with everybody.”

A tragedy like this can’t be avoided because it’s a natural disaster.

“All we can do is offer our prayers and any assistance we can give,” says Mayor Nick Sacco.  “I’m glad to see that US troops have been deployed to help and that we’re finding ways to raise money or goods.”

Vinicio Lema’s in-laws survived but they were displaced from the earthquake torn area.

“Support our country right now in these difficult times,” says Lema, of Cliffside Park. “They need a lot of medicine, they need food, they need water.  They are really suffering.”

Gloria B was visiting after seven years and it was the last day before she headed out from Guayaquil.

“Three hours away where the main earthquake happened and what I felt was horrible,” the 93.1 Amor personality says.

“You don’t need to be Ecuadorian to feel the pain that the people are feeling in my country.”

It’s a tragedy of epic proportions and a community came together to help their own.

Here’s how you can help:

The ECUADOR RED CROSS has teams on the ground providing first aid and searching for survivors.

UNICEF has delivered 20,000 water purification tables to the area worst affected by the quake. They are  also assessing the needs of children in the earthquake zone.

WORLD VISION has deployed an emergency response staff to assist with aid distributions and is setting up shelters.

SAMARITAN’S PURSE personnel are on the ground to help coordinate with churches and community officials. The group says field hospital and medical staff will be arriving later this week.

WORLD FOOD PROGRAM is providing food assistance to more than 5,000 families affected by the earthquake.

OXFAM AMERICA is focusing on providing clean water, sanitation, and hygienic products.

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Jillian has a passion for news, giving voice to the voiceless and telling stories that make an impact. A New Jersey native, she spent the past two years as a multimedia journalist/one-man-band at WTAP-TV, the NBC affiliate in Parkersburg, West Virginia, where she covered everything from meth busts to fracking to the homeless to a young man struck by lightening. She was her news director’s “go to health reporter” and also covered many education and political stories. She frequently interviewed the mayors of Parkersburg, Vienna and Williamstown, WV and Belpre and Marietta, Ohio. She interviewed OH Gubernatorial Candidate Ed Fitzgerald and OH Congressional Candidate Jennifer Garrison, as well as WV Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and WV Senator Joe Manchin. Jillian was a regular fixture at the local police, sheriff’s departments, prosecutors’ offices and courthouses. Many looked forward to her ‘Mom of the Month’ series. Her story about two women who lost their children to heroin was widely recognized, along with her much loved piece on the Battle Against Cystic Fibrosis band camp. In her free time, Jillian enjoys yoga; working out, live music, spending time with friends on both coasts and the Mid-Ohio Valley. Follow on Twitter @JillianRis


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