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Loved Ones Wait To Hear From Family Members In Aftermath Of El Salvador Quake

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RALEIGH — The death toll is quickly approaching 700 in El Salvador where an earthquake buried entire neighborhoods. An estimated 500 people are still missing, and the aftermath of the earthquake is being felt in the Triangle.

It has been an agonizing four days since the earthquake ripped through El Salvador. Most of Mauricio Castro's family is still in El Salvador. He just found out that his mother, Maria, and his four nieces and nephews are staying in a shelter.

"I thought thank God she's alive, and somehow they're going to survive it," he says. "It was just difficult to face the fact that she's struggling to make sense of what had happened to the rest of the family. It's tough."

Several of Castro's nephews and his older sister, Hilda, have not been located. Because the devastation is so severe, phone lines are down, and it is difficult at best to get any kind of information.

"It gives you some sense of insecurity and gives you a sense that maybe, someone has been lost in your family," he says. "Last night, I opened a Christmas card from my sister. I looked at it, and it was very difficult."

The pain of seeing your home torn apart is something that cannot be measured, but Castro says his faith is what keeps him going.

"Our people are very strong, very religious and very committed. They have a high survival spirit," he says.

Several Latino organizations in the Triangle are putting together a relief fund. Anyone who would like to help can make out a check payable to El Centro Hispano. Please write "Central America Relief Fund" in the memo portion. Donations should be mailed to:Latino Community Credit Union201 West Main StreetDurham, North Carolina 27701