(WVUE) - The Mexican flag flies proudly outside the Consulate of Mexico off Convention Center Boulevard. But inside, concerns are palpable for those affected by this week's deadly earthquake in Mexico City.
"It is a tragedy. Really, we are concerned about our citizens," said Consul of Protection and Legal Affairs Lorena Salazar.
The images from the massive earthquake are jarring. There are mounds of rubble and visibly shifting high-rises. The government has called for three days of national mourning.
"All the efforts are focused on rescuing people because there are still lots of people under the fallen buildings," Salazar said.
"When I heard that I was scared about that because I was born in Mexico City, and I was thinking of my family because they live there," said Abigail Hernandez as she stood in her family's restaurant in Kenner.
For a time she could not reach relatives living where the earthquake happened.
"When I heard that, I was scared about that because I was born in Mexico City, and I was thinking of my family because they live there," Hernandez said.
Eventually she got relief about their well-being, but said her mother's old home there was damaged.
"Everybody there good, just the thing that happened on my mother's house, I think the kitchen crashed the wall and everything," said Hernandez.
Back at the consulate in New Orleans, Salazar is asking locals concerned for loved ones to be patient because of communication system problems.
"We are not receiving information as fast as we would like to so we are really asking for patience…yes, some phone lines are down and also all the government efforts are focused on rescuing people," she said.
Some of her fellow government workers are impacted in Mexico.
"Our headquarters, the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs is headquartered in Mexico City, so my colleagues are in there, they're safe, but a lot of people lost people," Salazar stated.
And for people here from Mexico it is especially difficult because this was the second major earthquake to hit the country in a matter of days.
"We were still recovering from the first earthquake and now this earthquake hit harder another part of the country," said Salazar.
She said the Mexican Red Cross which has information in Spanish is collecting monetary donations.
For more information on rescue and relief efforts call 1-855-463-6395. There is also a website that Salazar said is helpful.