Death Toll Exceeds 1,300 in Hajj 2024

Saudi Arabia has announced that the number of people who died during this year’s Hajj has exceeded 1,300.

This tragic toll is attributed mainly to the extreme heat that plagued the pilgrimage, with temperatures soaring above 50 degrees Celsius.

Citizens from ten different countries have been reported among the deceased, with Egypt bearing the highest toll of 658 deaths.

Pakistan, which sent 150,000 pilgrims, reported 58 deaths among its citizens. Indonesia, which had 240,000 pilgrims, recorded 183 deaths according to its Ministry of Religious Affairs.

Agence France-Presse noted that pilgrims from Sudan, Senegal, Tunisia, India, Jordan, Malaysia, Ethiopia, and Iran were also among the deceased.

The Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Council confirmed that five of the victims were Ethiopian nationals.

The Saudi Arabian news agency SPA reported that most of the deceased were pilgrims who entered the country without official permission and had to endure long journeys in the extreme heat without adequate shelter.

The severe heat wave, which saw temperatures rise above 50 degrees Celsius, posed a significant risk to all pilgrims, but particularly to those traveling without the necessary precautions and accommodations.

More than three-quarters of those who died were unauthorized entrants traveling during the day without proper shelter.

Some of the deceased were elderly or had chronic illnesses, compounding their vulnerability to the harsh conditions.

Health Minister Fahd Al-Jalajeel stated that efforts were made to raise awareness about the dangers of heat and the measures pilgrims could take to protect themselves.

Health facilities, including over 140,000 unlicensed ones, managed to treat nearly half a million travelers, with some still hospitalized due to heat-related injuries.

This year’s Hajj saw participation from over 1.5 million foreigners and more than 300,000 Saudi citizens, making the event particularly challenging due to the extreme heat.

The country’s Meteorological Center reported that the temperature in Makkah reached a staggering 51.8 degrees Celsius last week. Consequently, more than 2,700 elderly and ailing pilgrims are currently receiving treatment in hospitals.

The Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam, draws millions of participants each year. Despite meticulous planning and safety measures, the event has seen fatalities in the past.

Eight years ago, more than 2,000 pilgrims lost their lives in a tragic stampede in Mina during the stoning ritual.

The extreme heat and the high number of unauthorized entrants highlight the need for even more stringent measures to ensure the safety of all pilgrims during this significant religious event.


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