TORONTO (Reuters) – A fundraising effort for a Syrian-refugee couple who lost all seven of their children in a house fire in the eastern Canadian city of Halifax has reached C$290,000 (168,346.20 pounds) from nearly 6,000 people in 24 hours, according to online fundraiser GoFundMe.
With the children’s father in the hospital with life-threatening injuries and the mother stricken with grief, the community will hold a vigil for the family Wednesday evening in Halifax, according to one of the groups that helped resettle the refugees.
Family friends of the victims, the Imam Council of Halifax, and the Hants East Assisting Refugees Team (HEART) Society initiated the GoFundMe crowd-funding drive for the Barho family, according to the website. The vigil was scheduled for 6 p.m. Atlantic time.
The Barho family arrived in Canada in 2017 and were the first family sponsored by the HEART Society, according to the organisation. A YouTube video posted on The Enfield Weekly Press & The Laker channel shows the family receiving a welcome at an airport in Sept. 29, 2017.
The society said the children enjoyed living in Canada, and participated in swimming and bicycling.
Natalie Horne, vice president of the HEART Society, told Reuters on Wednesday, the family was “full of humour, full of smiles, full of gratitude, and love.”
The father is in hospital with life-threatening injuries, and the mother was not injured but is dealing with “an overwhelming amount of grief” according to Horne.
The cause of the fire is yet to be determined by the authorities.
“It’s been an overwhelming show of support from the community locally, nationally, internationally. It means a lot. We wish that we could all bring the children back,” Horne said.
($1 = 1.3165 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by Tyler Choi; Editing by David Gregorio)