Grief of Ecuador earthquake felt all the way to Durham

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Effects are felt right here in the Triangle.

The effects of the devastating earthquake in Ecuador are being felt all the way to West Main Street in downtown Durham.

Two businesses are grieving, and both are trying to help.

One is a real estate company run by an Ecuadorian family. The other a restaurant inspired by the South American country's cuisine.

Buildings crumbled to the ground, people are still being pulled from the rubble. Hundreds are dead.

"As every Ecuadorian in the United States, we are still pretty attached to our country," Otto Cedeno said. Cedeno is an Ecuadorian immigrant and owner of Movil Realty in downtown Durham.

"I have a lot of people that I know that they lost their lives and they lost their homes, but my closest families, they are fine," he said. "It feels sad, but at the same time we are in a country where we can really do something about it and we can organize people, and get there, and donate."

More: Video, photos show massive damage and panic caused by Ecuador Earthquake

When asked about the loved ones they've lost, Cedeno's wife, Fanny Cedeno, said "it's the same story of everywhere - pain." Tears streamed down her face. Many of their neighbors are unaccounted for or worse.

Otto Cedeno said his friend, a builder, just opened a small hotel in Ecuador last month - "and now that building collapsed and he was there with his family so ... and I can tell you 100 stories about people dying from this earthquake," he said.

Movil Realty and Ecuadorians United of Raleigh are planning a three-month trip to help rebuild, and are asking others to help. Check out their fundraising page here.

You can watch their call for help here, in English ...

... And here in Spanish.

Across the street from Movil Realty, the smell of South American food fills the air. Shawn Stokes, the owner of Luna Rotisserie and Empanadas worked in Ecuador for the Peace Corps, and he said he feels a sense of loss as well.

"We want to see that folks are OK," Stokes said. "But at the same time, it's pretty gut-wrenching to see a country that I love so much, and spent a real amount of time living and working with people, and seeing them having to endure such hardship right now."

Stokes said he still has friends living in the country, and that the restaurant is donating 10 percent of its profits this week to this fund, to help get water, food and other supplies to Ecuadorians in need.

Movil Realty is donating $400 for every house it sells to its project to rebuild destroyed homes. It is hoping other businesses will help and join the rebuilding efforts.

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