Manitoba

Girl who died after Dalhousie Drive crash was Yazidi refugee, community member says

A five-year-old girl who died after a crash on Wednesday was part of a Yazidi family who came to Canada two years ago as refugees fleeing ISIS, a member of Winnipeg's Yazidi community told CBC News.

5-year-old was passenger, along with 2 siblings, in van driven by mother; no word yet on cause of crash

Two vehicles collided head-on Wednesday on Dalhousie Drive near Pembina Highway, killing a five-year-old girl and sending two other children to hospital. (Warren Kay/CBC)

A five-year-old girl who died after a crash on Wednesday was part of a Yazidi family who came to Canada from Iraq two years ago as refugees fleeing ISIS, a member of Winnipeg's Yazidi community told CBC News.

"The family was ISIS survivor and came here hoping that they can live here, the normal life, and … [have] the freedom that we have in Canada," said Hadji Hesso, director of the Yazidi Association of Manitoba.

ISIS, a groupe of militants fighting to establish an Islamist state, has targeted members of the Yazidi religious minority in Iraq and Syria. The House of Commons unanimously passed a motion in 2016 calling the persecution of Yazidis a genocide and committing to provide asylum to Yazidi women and girls.

The girl, along with her two siblings, was a passenger in a van driven by her mother that collided head-on with another vehicle on Dalhousie Drive near Pembina Highway Wednesday afternoon.

The girl was taken to hospital in critical condition and later died from her injuries. The mother was not physically injured, police said, but the other two children — a one-year-old and a four-year-old — were taken to hospital where they remained in stable condition on Thursday.

Hesso knows the family and says the local Yazidi community has offered their support.

"I can't imagine what she's going through, for the time being. I think she blames herself.… But again, we don't know what causes this and what happened."

Police have not released any information about what caused the collision. Only two car seats were found in the vehicle, although it's not clear which children were in the car seats.

"We just stand by them and support them in any way possible," said Hesso.

Pembina Trails School Division released a statement on Thursday saying the girl was a kindergarten student at Ryerson School, which is near the scene of the collision.

"Our thoughts are with family and friends during this extremely difficult time," superintendent Ted Fransen said in the statement.  

"The focus right now is supporting family, students and staff. Pembina Trails School Division's student services team, including social workers and psychologists, have spent the day at the school offering additional assistance and expertise."

The family is now making funeral arrangements.

Police are still investigating the crash.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cameron MacLean

Online Reporter

Cameron MacLean is a journalist living in Winnipeg, where he was born and raised. He has more than a decade of experience covering news in the city and across the province, working in print, radio, television and online.

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