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Saturday July 20, 2024

Saudi Arabia's scorching temperatures claim lives of '577' Hajj pilgrims

Earlier, some Hajj pilgrims claimed seeing motionless bodies on roadside and overwhelmed ambulance services

By Web Desk
June 19, 2024
Muslim pilgrims drink water during extremely hot weather during the annual Hajj pilgrimage, in Mina, Saudi Arabia, June 16, 2024. — Reuters
Muslim pilgrims drink water during extremely hot weather during the annual Hajj pilgrimage, in Mina, Saudi Arabia, June 16, 2024. — Reuters

At least 577 Hajj pilgrims have, so far, lost their lives while performing Hajj rituals in Makkah, as soaring temperatures baked Saudi Arabia due to extremely hot weather conditions, AFP reported.

Reports from the hospital morgue in Makkah's Al Muaisem neighbourhood stated that around 550 pilgrims perished during this year’s Hajj as a result of intense heat.

However, the total number of fatalities reported by various countries has now reached 577, according to AFP's tally.

According to two Arab diplomats, at least 323 Egyptians were among the deceased with heat-related illnesses being the primary cause of their deaths.

"All of them (the Egyptians) died because of heat", except for one who sustained fatal injuries during a minor crowd crush, one of the diplomats said.

Furthermore, the diplomats revealed that at least 60 Jordanians also passed away, a number that adds to the official tally of 41 reported earlier on Tuesday by Amman.

The Hajj pilgrimage is increasingly affected by climate change, according to a Saudi study published last month that said temperatures in the area where rituals are performed were rising 0.4°C each decade.

Temperatures hit 51.8°C at the Grand Mosque in Makkah on Monday, the Saudi national meteorology centre said.

At least 240 pilgrims were reported dead by various countries last year, most of them were Indonesians.

Pilgrims in Mina, outside Makkah, on Monday were seen pouring bottles of water over their heads as volunteers handed out cold drinks and fast-melting chocolate ice cream to help them keep cool.

Saudi officials had advised pilgrims to use umbrellas, drink plenty of water and avoid exposure to the sun during the hottest hours of the day.

Some pilgrims described seeing motionless bodies on the roadside and ambulance services that appeared overwhelmed at times.

Around 1.8 million pilgrims took part in the Hajj this year, 1.6 million of them from abroad, according to Saudi authorities.