A Winnipeg woman says she and her family feel helpless as they wait to hear from dozens of relatives who are missing in northern Iraq as tensions continue to rise between Islamic militants and the Yazidi religious community.

Jameleh Naso says at least 50 extended family members have disappeared while trying to escape the conflict involving the militant group ISIS.

Thousands of Yazidis in northern Iraq have been killed or displaced in the crisis.

Naso said she feels frustrated and helpless, especially after she last spoke with her aunt in Iraq last week.

"My aunt was talking on the phone and she's crying and saying, 'We're all going to die,'" Naso said, her voice cracking.

"What do you tell someone? There's human rights, there's someone coming? Like, can you imagine that, talking to your aunt on the phone and her saying, 'We're all going to die?'"

Naso says it's possible that some of her relatives may have fled their homes for Turkey or Kurdistan, but she fears the worst.

The response from the international community has been too slow, she said.

"I'm in a human rights course and … I'm listening to all these things about human rights and our right to religion and peace and stuff like that, and then I come home and hear this stuff and say, 'Where's all that being applied to these people?'" she said.

It's estimated that about 200 Yazidis live in Winnipeg.

A protest by the Yazidi community was scheduled for Sunday, but it was cancelled because family members were too upset to take part.