Quebec’s Burkinabé community is coming together to support the families of Burkina Faso immigrants who were aboard Air Algerie Flight AH5017 when it crashed on Thursday.
Five Canadians and several Canadian permanent residents, all from Quebec, were among the 118 people on the plane, which was flying from Burkina Faso's capital of Ouagadougou to Algiers when it went down over northern Mail.
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According to the Burkinabé Association of Greater Montreal, 11 members of Quebec's Burkina Faso community — six adults and five children — were on board.
Association president Mahamadi Savadogo said his community is doing what it can to help support those affected.
"We put in a crisis unit to support the families," he told CBC's Daybreak.
The association has also set up a fund to raise money for the families and is organizing a candlelight vigil tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET at Marie-Victorin Park in Longueuil.
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Passengers from Longueuil, Sherbrooke
Four of the five Canadians on board Air Algerie Flight AH5017 were members of a Longueuil family: Winmalo Somda, his wife, Angelique Kpoda, and their children, Arielle and Nathanael.
Winmalo's brother, Wilfried Somda, was also on the plane.
The family members were on their way back to Montreal after attending a wedding in Burkina Faso.
Wilfried Somda's pregnant wife and their three-year-old daughter stayed behind in Longueuil.
"Something that is important to have in this situation is to have a human presence and morally support them," Savadogo said.
Isabelle Prévost, of Sherbrooke, Que., was also travelling with the Somda family.
Her partner, Danny Frappier, said Prévost was on vacation. She is survived by three children, aged five, seven and nine.
Mamadou Zoungrana, a permanent resident who lived in Gatineau, lost his wife and children.
Zoungrana and his family had been living apart for the past two years.
His wife, Salimata, and sons, Brice, 6. and Arsène, 13, were supposed to land in Montreal this week, to join Zoungrana for a new life in Canada.
Jonquière man loses Canada-bound wife and son
Bassirou Yameogo, who lives in Jonquière near Saguenay, lost his wife, Kadidia Koanda, and 15-year-old son, Aboubacar.
A teacher back in Burkina Faso, Yameogo came to Canada in 2012 to establish himself before sending for his wife and son to join him.
"I hadn't seen them for 29 months. I came here to give them a better life. Now they'll never see Canada, never know that life, and I'll never see them again," he told CBC News.
Yameogo said that he spoke to his wife and son before they boarded the Algiers-bound flight and set his alarm for 2:30 a.m. to talk to them once they landed in Algeria.
He said he began to worry when there was still no word from them by 5 a.m.
That's when his younger brother called him from Burkina Faso to tell him of local reports that the plane was missing.
"I think about how they suffered before they died, how my son cried for his mother, and how she might have cried for him," he said.
Yameogo's son was registered to start high school in Jonquière in September.
Mother coming to meet her new grandson
Quebec City resident Moise Sandwidi lost his mother Martone Sandwidi on Flight AH5017.
The 57-year-old wife and mother of five was embarking on her first trip to Canada to visit Moise, who moved to Quebec in 2005 as a student and now works for the province's health insurance board.
Martone Sandwidi was coming to meet her latest grandson.
"She was a strong, jovial woman who was always there to help others and listen. She loved and didn't expect anything in return," her son told Radio-Canada.
The Burkinabé Association of Greater Montreal is asking people who want to help support the families affected by the Air Algerie crash to phone 514-999-5992 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.