Heat during hajj: Over 200 dead in Mecca, Saudi authorities are treating the pilgrims

Heatwave during Hajj: Over 200 dead in Mecca, Saudi authorities treating pilgrims

Saudi officials have stated that they have treated over 2,000 pilgrims who suffered from heatstroke, but have not disclosed any data regarding human casualties.

Tragedies during Hajj in Mecca

Reports from various countries suggest a heavy toll of over 200 deaths during the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. This annual ritual, one of the world’s largest religious gatherings, took place in a setting where the holiest city in Islam experienced extreme temperatures reaching 51.8°C. Saudi authorities have stated that they have treated over 2,000 pilgrims suffering from heat stress, but have not provided specifics on potential deaths.

In a recent statement released on Tuesday, June 18, the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced issuing 41 burial permits for burying faithful in Mecca. Meanwhile, Tunisian authorities reported the tragic loss of 35 Tunisians among the pilgrims, in the context of severe heat in the kingdom. Neither country specified the number of deaths directly related to the heat. Similarly, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported ongoing search operations to locate missing Egyptians during Hajj, with several reported deaths.

Indonesia also reported 132 deaths among its citizens, including at least three victims of heatstroke, while authorities in the Kurdish region of Iraq highlighted heat as one of the main factors leading to the death of 13 pilgrims.

An exceptional heatwave

Saudi authorities have emphasized the importance of prevention, recommending pilgrims not to go out during the hottest hours unless necessary, and to use an umbrella. They have also stressed the importance of following health guidelines such as using an umbrella, drinking water regularly, and avoiding direct sun exposure to protect against the effects of heat.

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This year, the Hajj attracted around 1.8 million pilgrims, with 1.6 million coming from abroad, according to Saudi authorities. In a message before the events, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto leader, highlighted that Saudi Arabia must ensure the safety and well-being of the faithful during the pilgrimage.

With climate change attributable to human activities, the risks of extreme, prolonged, and intense heatwaves are significantly increasing around the world.

Information source: francetvinfo.fr

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