More than 1,000 heat-related deaths during Hajj in Mecca

More than 1,000 heat-related deaths during Hajj in Mecca
More than 1,000 heat-related deaths during Hajj in Mecca

Temperatures in Mecca currently reach up to 51.8 degrees.

During this year’s Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, more than a thousand people died in the extreme heat. Unofficially registered pilgrims who took part in the rituals accounted for more than half of the deaths. According to an Arab diplomat, 658 of the dead were from Egypt, 630 of them were not officially registered.

Ten countries have so far reported a total of 1,081 deaths during the Hajj. The figures come from official statements or from diplomats of the respective countries.

In the run-up to the Hajj, the Saudi Arabian authorities said they had expelled hundreds of thousands of unregistered pilgrims from Mecca – many of whom apparently still took part in the Hajj, which began a week ago on Friday. These unregistered pilgrims were particularly exposed to the extreme heat. Without a license, they were not allowed access to cooled rooms that the authorities had set up for the 1.8 million approved pilgrims to recover from the often hours-long walks and prayers in the open air.

“People were tired after being chased away by security forces ahead of Arafat Day. They were exhausted,” said an Arab diplomat, referring to last Saturday, when believers climbed Mount Arafat in scorching heat to pray for many hours.

Egypt sent reconnaissance teams to Mecca to gather information on missing Egyptian citizens and, among other things, to visit hospitals to look for bodies or Egyptians receiving treatment.

The Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca is one of the five pillars of Islam. It should be undertaken at least once in a lifetime by every healthy Muslim who can afford it. For financial reasons, many believers take part in the Hajj without the official pilgrimage license and are therefore not registered by the Saudi Arabian authorities.

The period of the pilgrimage is determined by the Islamic calendar and in recent years has repeatedly coincided with periods of heat. This year temperatures of up to 51.8 degrees were recorded. Many of the rituals are performed outdoors and on foot, which is a challenge especially for older people.

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Source: Nachrichten

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