NewsSaudi Hajj marred by deadly heatwave: 1,300 pilgrims perish

Saudi Hajj marred by deadly heatwave: 1,300 pilgrims perish

Tragic toll of the pilgrimage to Mecca. Over 1300 people are dead
Tragic toll of the pilgrimage to Mecca. Over 1300 people are dead
Images source: © Getty Images
Aneta Polak

24 June 2024 07:51

Tragic tally in the pilgrimage to the Al-Kaba shrine in Mecca. The Saudi Arabian authorities have reported that over 1,300 people died during this year's Hajj. Most of the victims died from heat stroke. During the pilgrimage, thermometers indicated temperatures as high as 49 degrees Celsius.

1,301 people died during this year's pilgrimage to Mecca, or Hajj - this is the information provided by the Saudi Arabian authorities. The dreadful heat killed the pilgrims.

Saudi Arabia's Minister of Health, Fahd bin Abdurrahman Al-Jalajel, emphasized that 83% of the 1,301 fatalities were individuals making the pilgrimage without government permission, travelling long distances on foot. According to the minister, 95 pilgrims are still in hospitals, with some being airlifted for treatment in the country's capital, Riyadh.

The deceased pilgrims were laid to rest in Mecca, but many lacked identification documents, delaying the process of identifying bodies. According to Reuters, the highest number of this year's pilgrimage fatalities (672 people) were Egyptian citizens. Associated Press reported that the victims hailed from Indonesia, India, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, and Malaysia.

Pilgrimage to Mecca. Killed by heat

Dantean scenes took place during the pilgrimage to the Al-Kaba shrine. According to the Saudi National Centre for Meteorology, temperatures in the city ranged from 46 to 49 degrees Celsius (some sources report thermometers indicating up to 52 degrees). Pilgrims, in front of journalists, fainted from the heat. Some vomited and collapsed.

Pilgrims' bodies were lying in the streets among passing cars and scattered refuse. This is seen in this footage, but it is pretty graphic.

The pilgrimage to Mecca is an obligation for every devout Muslim. Each should perform it at least once in their lifetime (if their health and financial situation allow).

Some believers are determined to spend their life savings, incur debt, or sell property to fund a family member's pilgrimage. Depending on the country of origin, one must allocate several thousand to tens of thousands of pounds sterling for this purpose.

According to the Saudi statistics office, over 1.83 million pilgrims from 23 countries participated in this year's Hajj.

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