Father Killed in Crash Months After Wife's Death, Leaving Behind Their 5 Children: 'Please Help'

The children, whose parents are from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, are now being cared for by their grandparents

An Iowa community is rallying around five children who lost both of their parents in a matter of months.

According to the Des Moines Register, Bazirake Kariya, 30, died on New Year's Eve after his car was found in a creek amid a winter storm in the area. He had been traveling to his job at a pork processing plant, his family's pastor, Eugene Kiruhura, told the newspaper.

Kariya succumbed to his injuries shortly after rescuers were able to pull him from his submerged car, NBC affiliate WHO-13 reported.

The tragedy occurred four months after Kariya's wife, Zabayo Bigirimana, died in childbirth, according to the outlet. Along with their newborn girl, the couple leaves behind four boys, ages 2, 6, 8, and 10.

"They've been crying all the time, saying 'We lost mother. We lost father.' " Kiruhura, of Shalom Covenant Church in Urbandale, told WHO-13. "It's very, very hard to the kids."

Kariya and Bigirimana moved to the U.S. from the Democratic Republic of the Congo three years ago, according to the Des Moines Register.

The children are now being looked after by their grandparents, who don't speak English and aren't financially equipped to raise them, per WHO-13.

Zabayo Bigirimana, Bazirake Kayira

Kiruhura, who has known the family for about a year, said he is doing his best to help, and recently started a GoFundMe campaign to help raise funds.

"We are raising funds to help assist with his funeral expenses and any extra funds will go into an account reserved for the children," Kiruhura wrote on the page. "Keep these children in your prayers this is very sudden and extremely shocking for them to lose both parents like this in a short period of time."

After the donation page quickly raised over $60,000, the fundraising goal was increased to $200,000, according to the Des Moines Register.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the campaign has raised more than $160,000.

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"I'm believing in God, that's why I'm asking people, please, please help these kids," Kiruhura told WHO-13.

"Raise these kids, these kids, I know tomorrow they will be somebody," he continued. "They will be helping others if they can get help from the community."

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The pastor says he's full of gratitude for everybody who has helped the family out so far.

"Thank you all so much for the overwhelming support given in such a short period of time," he wrote in an update on Jan. 2 that included a picture of the children. "God Bless you!!"

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