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Their Mom Died in Childbirth. Months Later, Crash Kills Dad, Too

Five children orphaned in Iowa
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 5, 2022 1:56 AM CST
Their Mom Died in Childbirth. Months Later, Crash Kills Dad, Too
Grounds crew members clear snow off a sidewalk along East Grand Avenue in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022.   (Bryon Houlgrave/The Des Moines Register via AP)

Four months ago, a mother died in childbirth while delivering her fifth child. On Friday, all five children were orphaned when their father died in Des Moines, Iowa, amid an ice storm. Bazirake Kariya, 30, was driving to his job at a pork processing plant when his vehicle ran into a creek. Freezing rain had hit the area, and numerous other motorists had to be rescued, the Des Moines Register reports. Kariya died shortly after rescuers pulled him from his car, WHO 13 reports. His children, ranging in age from 4 months to 10 years old, are now in the care of their grandparents, but Kariya had been supporting them as well—both are sick and neither has food, a job, or a place to live, KCCI reports.

"They will need a lot of things," says the pastor who set up a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign for the family. "They will need a car. They will go to school. They need to eat. They don't have anyone who is working for them. By raising this money, it will help them for (the) long-term." Initially, the fundraiser was meant to cover funeral expenses, but it has now expanded to cover the children's living expenses for some time as well. The family are refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and moved to the US from the war-torn part of Africa three years ago. "It’s very, very hard to the kids," the pastor says. "They've been crying all the time." (More Iowa stories.)

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