Manitoba

Winnipeg Yazidi community calls for car seat donations after crash killed refugee girl

Members of Winnipeg's Yazidi community have banded together to supply donated car seats to refugee families in need after a five-year-old Yazidi girl died in a crash last week.

Roughly 50 car seats donated to Canadian Yazidi Association in days after death of 5-year-old in collision

The Canadian Yazidi Association is calling for car seat donations after a 5-year-old Yazidi girl died in a Winnipeg crash last week. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

Members of Winnipeg's Yazidi community are banding together to get more car seats in the vehicles of refugee families after a five-year-old Yazidi girl died in a crash last week.

The girl died Wednesday after the van she was in with her two sisters and mother collided head-on with another vehicle on Dalhousie Drive near Pembina Highway. The mother was uninjured; her two other girls were kept in hospital for a time.

Only two car seats were found in the van.

Jamileh Naso with the Canadian Yazidi Association said after the tragedy, members of the local Yazidi community decided to start a car seat donation drive to help prevent similar deaths.

The group already has received about 50 car seats in less than a week, Naso said.

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)

"It's quite amazing."

The girl and her family fled Iraq two years ago amid persecution from ISIS, militants fighting to establish an Islamist state that have targeted members of the religious minority in Iraq and Syria. The House of Commons passed a motion three years ago describing the persecution of Yazidis as a genocide.

Naso estimates there are between 350 and 450 displaced refugee Yazidis now living in Manitoba.

Car seats aren't common in some of the Middle Eastern communities Yazidi immigrants are coming from, Naso said.

"It's quite rare that people even wear seatbelts back home in places like Iraq and Syria and Turkey," she said.

"I think after this a lot of them [are realizing] this is serious. They need to be buckled up, they need car seats."

Almost 30 families have contacted the Canadian Yazidi Association in recent days, asking for car seats, Naso said.

The association is engaged in an educational campaign to raise awareness among refugees and immigrants about the importance of car seats and other vehicle safety measures, she said.

Anyone who wants to donate a car seat can email operationezra1@gmail.com.

Police continue to investigate the cause of the crash.

With files from Meaghan Ketcheson

now