July 26, 2014 5:58 pm

Burkinabe community come together to support families of Air Algerie victims

Watch above: People in Montreal are still reeling over news of the crashed Air Algerie jet, and six families in Quebec have been directly affected. A Longueuil woman has been left widowed by the crash, and she has become a rallying point for the Montreal area’s Burkinabe community. Billy Shields has more.

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LONGUEUIL – Along Toulouse Street, as people woke up in this South Shore suburb, an observer could watch a gradual stream of people making its way to a second-floor apartment door. Some of them came with casserole dishes, some came laden with heavy bags containing care packages.

All of them were coming together in support of Rita Sanhouidi, a pregnant mother who is the widow of Wilfried Somda, who died in the Air Algerie crash that occurred on Thursday morning.

Four other members of the Somda family: Winmalo, Angelique and their two children, also died in the crash. According to the Greater Montreal Burkinabe Association, the crash claimed the lives of 11 Quebec residents from Burkina Faso, including five children.

A Sherbrooke woman who knew the Somdas, Isabelle Prevost, also died. The flight was part of the first trip she ever took by air; she left behind three children.

The association has reached out to community members on its website, asking people to support Sanhouidi any way they can.

“It’s part of our culture. Whenever something like this happens in my country, your whole family, your friends, everyone comes to see you,” said Yeri-Jeanne Ouedraogo, who came by Friday around noon.

Ouedraogo was friends with another victim of the crash – Rabdou Salimata Zoungrana. Zoungrana was flying to join her husband, who lives in Gatineau. She died with the couple’s two children.

“His wife and I worked together and got along very well in Burkina Faso,” Ouedraogo said.

The community in Quebec is reaching out to family members of the victims of the crash – which killed 118 people – to remind them they aren’t alone.

“People need a human presence, they need someone to talk to them,” said Mahamadi Savadogo, the association president. “For them the world’s come down, everything has no sense.”

© Shaw Media, 2014

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