Monday, July 15, 2024

Over 1,300 People Perished During Hajj, with Many Succumbing to the Scorching Heat after Long Walks

More than 1,300 Dead in Saudi Hajj Pilgrimage Amid Extreme Heat

Hundreds of Pilgrims Die During Hajj in Saudi Arabia Due to Extreme Heat

This year’s Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia turned deadly as more than 1,300 people lost their lives, with the scorching heat and lack of proper accommodations contributing to the fatalities. Among the deceased were more than 660 Egyptians, with the majority being unauthorized pilgrims who walked long distances in soaring temperatures to perform the Hajj rituals in and around the holy city of Mecca.

The Saudi Health Minister Fahd bin Abdurrahman Al-Jalajel announced the staggering death toll, stating that 83% of the fatalities were unauthorized pilgrims. He also mentioned that 95 pilgrims were currently being treated in hospitals, with some requiring airlifts for treatment in the capital, Riyadh. The identification process was delayed as many of the deceased had no identification documents.

Authorities in Egypt have revoked the licenses of 16 travel agencies that assisted unauthorized pilgrims in traveling to Saudi Arabia. The lack of proper services and accommodations led to the deaths of pilgrims, who were left stranded in scorching heat in holy sites without hotels to retreat to.

The extreme temperatures during this year’s Hajj period, ranging between 46-49 degrees Celsius, caused pilgrims to faint and suffer from heat exhaustion while performing religious rituals. The sheer number of participants makes it challenging to ensure their safety, despite Saudi Arabia’s efforts to implement crowd control and safety measures.

Climate change poses additional risks for future Hajj pilgrimages, with experts predicting that temperatures could exceed an “extreme danger threshold” in the coming decades. The annual pilgrimage, one of the world’s largest religious gatherings, attracts millions of Muslims from around the world to perform religious rites in the holy city of Mecca.

The recent tragedy highlights the need for improved safety measures and accommodations for pilgrims undertaking the spiritually significant journey to Mecca. As the global climate continues to change, ensuring the safety and well-being of pilgrims during the Hajj pilgrimage will be of utmost importance in the years to come.

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