Montrealers with friends and family in Mexico gathered Wednesday to comfort one another and pray for good news.

Mexico was hit Tuesday by a devastating 7.1-magnitude earthquake that killed more than 200 people.

That number is expected to climb as rescuers search through the ruins of collapsed buildings in Mexico City and other hard-hit areas.

Mexicans living in Montreal have been watching the horrifying scenes back home, and are desperate to do whatever they can to help.

"I'd go right now to Mexico but I cannot — I have my family here, I have my kids here," said Alfonso Costillo Anacleto, who manages Mi Ranchito restaurant in Rosemont.

The restaurant served as a gathering spot for a number of Mexican Montrealers Wednesday.

One of those in attendance, Montserrat Hernandez, has family in Mexico City, some of whom she hasn't been able to contact.

"I haven't heard from some family members. There is no telephone, no Wi-Fi," she said.

'We're heartbroken'

Santa Soria also had trouble getting through to her family in Guerrero, 350 kilometres south of Mexico City.

When she finally did, she found out her mother had been taken to hospital suffering from shock.

"We're heartbroken," she said.

Santa Soria

Santa Soria's mother lives in Guerrero, Mexico and was taken to hospital suffering from shock after the earthquake hit. (CBC)

Soria said she's worried about how Mexico's government will respond to the crisis.

"Our government, they have no credibility," she said. "Mexico, it's really — it's sad."

Given the frustration, Anacleto and his friends at Mi Ranchito are hoping to do what they can, including raising money to help with the rebuilding effort back home.

"We have to pray for Mexico," he said.

With files from Sudha Krishnan