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Montevideo, July 13th 2024 - 21:45 UTC

 

 

Excessive heat leaves over 1,300 Mecca pilgrims dead

Monday, June 24th 2024 - 08:46 UTC
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Most fatalities were unauthorized pilgrims who walked long distances in soaring temperatures to perform the rituals Most fatalities were unauthorized pilgrims who walked long distances in soaring temperatures to perform the rituals

According to the latest report from Saudi Arabian authorities, 1,301 people died during this year's traditional pilgrimage to Mecca due to a scorching heat of about 52º C. ”Unfortunately, the number of fatalities reached 1,301, 83% of whom were not authorized to perform the 'hajj' (pilgrimage) and walked huge distances under the sun, without adequate protection and comfort,” the Saudi Health Ministry noted.

According to The Associated Press, pilgrims were seen fainting from the scorching heat, especially on the second and third days of the Hajj, while some vomited and collapsed.

Given the irregularities in their trips, it was becoming difficult to identify the bodies, it was also explained. However, nearly half of the victims are believed to be Egyptian nationals. In Cairo, local authorities said at least 672 Muslim worshippers of Egyptian nationality died and 25 others were missing.

Each country is providing data on the deaths among the pilgrims. Indonesia is the second most affected country with 236 deaths, followed by India (98 deaths), and Jordan, with 75 deaths, all due to “extreme heat”. Senegal, Tunisia, Morocco, Malaysia, and Iran also reported casualties.

Some tourism agencies organized “hajj” programs with a personal visit visa, “which prevents holders from entering Mecca” forcing “them to seek other routes through the desert on foot, without having decent accommodation in other areas of the 'hajj' rituals, which caused unregistered pilgrims to be exposed to fatigue and high temperatures,” an Egyptian official explained on condition of anonymity.

Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbuli ordered the license of 16 agencies organizing these trips removed. Egypt sent more than 50,000 authorized pilgrims to Saudi Arabia this year.

Categories: Environment, International.

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