Canada expedites visas for relatives of Syrians who lost 7 children in fire
Five relatives of a Syrian couple who lost their seven children in a house fire last week are landing in Canada on Monday, thanks to help from the federal government and private citizens.
The Barho family came to Canada from Syria as refugees in 2017. Last Tuesday, a fire tore through their Halifax home, killing seven children who ranged in age from three months to 14 years old.
Father Ebraheim Barho remains in hospital in stable but critical condition with serious burns. Mother Kawthar Barho had minor physical injuries and attended the heartbreaking funeral on Saturday.
Halifax Liberal MP Andy Fillmore told reporters Monday that Immigration and Refugees Canada staff worked through the weekend to expedite visitor’s visas for five members of the Barho family.
“When I visited Kawthar Barho in the hospital last week, she expressed gratitude to the way the community has come around to support her, but she was very clear that she needs her family now,” he said
Fillmore said that those who arrive Monday, all adults, were able to get here quickly thanks to “conditions that made those (visas) much easier to expedite.” He said up to five more family members could come later.
He also left the door open to possible residency for the family members, although he said that “remains to be seen in the future.”
Kawthar Barho’s sister, Hibah Alhamed, and her parents remain in the Middle East, in Syria and Lebanon.
“She is upset because she is not with her sister at this moment,” a translator for Alhamed told CTV Atlantic.
Fillmore said that private individuals and organizations stepped forward to cover the cost of the flights and lodging for the family members.
“This is really the community coming together and quite essentially a Canadian moment closing ranks and helping people out,” Fillmore said.