Residents with family in Ecuador try to contact loved ones after earthquake

Anibal Ulloa Espinoza, who is a former Long Island resident, and his wife were killed when the ground opened up and debris fell on top

Anibal Ulloa Espinoza, who is a former Long Island resident, and his wife were killed when the ground opened up and debris fell on top of them.

Anibal Ulloa Espinoza, who is a former Long Island resident, and his wife were killed when the ground opened up and debris fell on top of them. (4/18/16)

WOODBURY - Long Islanders with family in Ecuador and ties to the country are praying and trying desperately to get in touch with their loved ones after a deadly earthquake.

The death toll from the quake was at more than 400 by Monday evening, and officials say the number could continue to rise.

The Ulloa family, of West Sayville, is mourning Anibal Ulloa Espinoza, who is a former Patchogue resident, and his wife. The family says the couple was killed when the ground opened up and debris fell on top of them.

The couple died near hotels they had bought with money they saved while working on Long Island.

Sergio Ulloa and his wife say Anibal lived on Long Island for 10 years. He held jobs in the restaurant industry, worked hard, saved a lot of money and learned to open his own hotel before returning home to Ecuador.

The Ulloas believe that the rest of their family is accounted for after the magnitude-7.8 earthquake on Saturday, but they aren't sure.  

The family has been watching Ecuadorean television and monitoring Facebook's emergency checklist. A green check next to a name means that person has indicated that they are safe.  

The Ulloas had been planning to travel to Ecuador to visit loved ones later this month, and they still intend to go.

Spain's Red Cross says about 800 volunteers and staff members with the Ecuadorean Red Cross are involved with search-and-rescue operations and helping to provide first aid and other services to people in the quake zone.

As many as 100,000 people may need assistance in the area, according to Spain's Red Cross. 

Associated Press reports contributed to this story.

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