More than 1,000 pilgrims died during this year’s Hajj season

Cairo (AP) – More than 1,000 people died during… Hajj season this year in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Believers faced extremely high temperatures at Islamic holy sites in the desert kingdom, officials said Sunday.

More than half of those killed were Egyptians, according to officials in Cairo. Egyptian authorities said that Egypt has canceled the licenses of 16 travel agencies that helped unauthorized pilgrims travel to Saudi Arabia.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia There was no comment on deaths during Hajj It is required of every able Muslim once in his life.

The Egyptian government announced the death of 31 authorized pilgrims due to chronic diseases during this year’s Hajj season, but it did not provide an official count of other pilgrims.

However, a cabinet official said that at least 630 other Egyptians died while performing the Hajj, most of them reported at the emergency complex in Mecca’s Al-Ma’aisem district. An Egyptian diplomat confirmed this toll and said that most of the dead were buried in Saudi Arabia.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to inform reporters.

Saudi authorities have taken strict measures against unauthorized pilgrims, expelling tens of thousands of people. But many, most of them Egyptians, were able to reach the holy sites in and around Mecca, some on foot. Unlike authorized pilgrims, they had no hotels to escape the scorching heat.

The government said in its statement that the 16 travel agencies failed to provide adequate services to pilgrims. It said that these agencies illegally facilitated the travel of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia using visas that do not allow their holders to travel to Mecca.

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The government also said that company officials had been referred to the public prosecutor for investigation.

The dead also included 165 pilgrims from Indonesia, 98 from India, and dozens more from Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Malaysia, according to an Associated Press tally. Two American pilgrims were also reported killed.

Muslim pilgrims use umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun as they arrive to throw stones at pillars in the symbolic stoning of the devil, the last ritual of the annual Hajj, in Mina, near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday, June 18, 2024. (Photo (AP/Rafiq Maqbool)

The Associated Press was unable to independently confirm the causes of death, but some countries such as Jordan and Tunisia blamed high temperatures.

Associated Press journalists witnessed pilgrims losing consciousness due to the extreme heat during the Hajj, especially on the second and third days. Some vomited and collapsed.

Deaths are not rare during the Hajj season, which at times has seen more than two million people travel to Saudi Arabia to perform the five-day Hajj. The history of Hajj also witnessed stampedes and deadly epidemics.

But this year’s toll was unusually high, indicating exceptional circumstances.

In 2015, a stampede in Mina during the Hajj season killed more than 2,400 pilgrims.It is the deadliest incident ever to hit the Hajj, according to AP. Saudi Arabia has never acknowledged the full number of the stampede. A separate crane collapsed in the Grand Mosque in Mecca Earlier the same year 111 were killed.

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The second deadliest accident during the Hajj season was the stampede that occurred in 1990 and led to the deaths of 1,426 people.

During this year’s Hajj, daily high temperatures ranged between 46 degrees Celsius (117 degrees Fahrenheit) and 49 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit) in Mecca and the holy sites in and around Medina, according to the Saudi National Meteorological Center. Some people fainted while trying to perform the procedure Stoning is symbolic of Satan.

The Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam, is one of the largest religious gatherings in the world. More than 1.83 million Muslims performed the Hajj in 2024, including more than 1.6 million from 22 countries, and about 222,000 Saudi citizens and residents, according to Saudi Hajj authorities.

Saudi Arabia has spent billions of dollars on crowd control and safety measures for those attending the annual five-day Hajj, but the sheer number of participants makes ensuring their safety difficult.

Climate change can increase risks. A 2019 study by experts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that even if the world succeeds in mitigating the worst effects of climate change, the Hajj will be held at temperatures exceeding the “extreme danger threshold” from 2047 to 2052, and from 2079 to 2079. 2052. 2086.

Islam follows the lunar calendar, so the Hajj comes approximately 11 days earlier each year. By 2029, the Hajj will occur in April, and several years later in winter, when temperatures are more moderate.

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