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Hajj 2024: Over 1,300 Dead, 83% Of Them Unauthorised Pilgrims Who Walked Distances In Heat | Key Points

Saudi Health Minister Fahd bin Abdurrahman Al-Jalajel said that 83 per cent of the 1,301 fatalities were unauthorised pilgrims who walked long distances in soaring temperatures

AP
Pilgrims were seen fainting from the scorching heat, especially on the second and third days of the Hajj Photo: AP
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The death toll of this year's Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia has topped 1,300, authorities said, adding that most fatalities were unauthorised pilgrims who walked long distances in soaring temperatures to perform the rituals.

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

Hajj 2024 Deaths | Key Points

  • 83% Deaths Unauthorised Pilgrims: A total 1,301 people died during this year's Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia as the pilgrims faced extreme high temperatures at Islamic holy sites in the desert kingdom, Saudi authorities announced Sunday. Saudi Health Minister Fahd bin Abdurrahman Al-Jalajel said that 83 per cent of the 1,301 fatalities were unauthorised pilgrims who walked long distances in soaring temperatures to perform the Hajj rituals in and around the holy city of Mecca.

  • 660 Egyptians, 98 Indians Among Deaths: The fatalities included more than 660 Egyptians, 165 pilgrims from Indonesia, 98 from India and dozens more from Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Malaysia, according to an Associated Press tally. The AP report said causes of death couldn't be verified, adding that some countries like Jordan and Tunisia, however, blamed the soaring heat.

  • Egypt Revokes Licenses Of Travel Agencies: Egypt has revoked the licenses of 16 travel agencies that helped unauthorised pilgrims travel to Saudi Arabia, the AP report quoted authorities as saying. Officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to brief journalists, said most of the dead were reported at the Emergency Complex in Mecca's Al-Muaisem neighborhood. Egypt sent more than 50,000 authorised pilgrims to Saudi Arabia this year.

Muslim pilgrims use umbrellas to shield themselves from the sun as they arrive to cast stones at pillars in the symbolic stoning of the devil, the last rite of the annual hajj, in Mina, near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia Photo: AP
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  • Unauthorised Pilgrims: While Saudi authorities expelled tens of thousands of people as part of its crackdown on unauthorised pilgrims, many, mostly Egyptians, managed to reach holy sites in and around Mecca, some on foot. Unlike authorised pilgrims, they had no hotels to return to to escape the scorching heat. In a statement Saturday, Egypt's government said the 16 travel agencies failed to provide adequate services for pilgrims. It said these agencies illegally facilitated the travel of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia using visas that don't allow holders to travel to Mecca. The government also said officials from the companies have been referred to the public prosecutor for investigation.

  • Unusually High Toll: Even though deaths are not uncommon at the Hajj, which has at times seen over 2 million pilgrims and has also seen deadly stampedes and epidemics, this year's tally is unusually high, suggesting exceptional circumstances.

While deaths are not uncommon to Hajj, this year's tally is unusually high, suggesting exceptional circumstances Photo: AP
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  • Stampede, Crane Collapse: In 2015 a stampede in Mina killed over 2,400 pilgrims, the deadliest incident ever to strike the pilgrimage, according to an AP count. Saudi Arabia has never acknowledged the full toll of the stampede. A separate crane collapse at Mecca's Grand Mosque earlier the same year killed 111. The second-deadliest incident at the Hajj was a 1990 stampede that killed 1,426 people.

  • High Temperatures In This Hajj: During this year's Hajj period, daily high temperatures ranged between 46 degrees Celsius and 49 degrees Celsius in Mecca and sacred sites in and around the city, according to the Saudi National Center for Meteorology. Some people fainted while trying to perform the symbolic stoning of the devil, the AP report mentioned.

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