Hundreds gathered in Ottawa's Chinatown at a candlelight vigil Friday evening for the victims of Monday's devastating earthquake in China.

Chinese officials say the death toll of the 7.9 magnitude quake, which struck China's Sichuan province, could reach up to 50,000 people.

On Saturday, the number of confirmed deaths rose to 28,881.

Yin Ying Tam was at Friday's vigil. His parents live 120 km from the epicentre.

"I feel it was the end of the day because communication was cut off, I can't reach my parents and get any news from them," Tam said.

Tam has since learned his parents are safe.

"I come here today because my power is very limited so I just wanted to make my own contribution to the people," he said.

Vigils were also held in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, as the quake has affected people all over the world.

"It was so unexpected, and it is such devastation and there are going to be so many kids without parents and parents without their child," said Katie Ing of the Ottawa Chinese Community Association.

One young woman at the vigil told the story of a 10-year-old girl rescued from the rubble.

"The girl really didn't know that her parents had passed on and she begged the rescuers, 'Please do not amputate my legs because I have to carry on and look after my parents,'" said Ing.

The disaster continues to threaten residents as tens of thousands of people remain trapped under debris and many others have been forced to leave their homes after reports that a river may burst its banks and flood the area.

Powerful aftershocks also continue to affect the region. It is estimated that more than 5 million people are homeless because of the quake.

"This is really a time to be united, to be together. It doesn't matter if you're born in China, in Hong Kong, anywhere. We really should be united with one heart and help," said Ing.

Please click here to make a donation to the Red Cross.  

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Maggie Padlewska