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Severe Heat in Saudi Arabia Causes Over 1,000 Deaths Among Hajj Pilgrims

Friday, June 21, 2024 • Tamil Comments
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Severe heat in Saudi Arabia has sadly claimed the lives of over 1,000 Muslim pilgrims visiting Mecca's holiest sites for this year's hajj.

Ten countries have verified a total of 1,081 deaths during the journey, a required ritual for every Muslim once in their lifetime, according to AFP.

Lasting five days and based on the Islamic lunar calendar, the hajj coincided once more with Saudi Arabia's sweltering summer heat. AFP reported that the nation saw temperatures this week reaching shockingly 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Although the precise count of deaths resulting directly from these high temperatures is yet unknown, Indian pilgrim Khalid Bashir Bazaz reported seeing many people pass out unconscious on Wednesday.

Heat was found to be the main cause of mortality among Egyptian pilgrims, an Arab official told AFP, possibly resulting in problems including high blood pressure.

Hundreds of people seeking information about missing loved ones gathered outside the Emergency Complex in Mecca's Al-Muaisem area. Emotional moments played out, including an Egyptian guy who sobbed over the death of his mother and blamed their travel agency for supposedly ignoring her.

The hajj presents difficulties, particularly for pilgrims from less developed countries with inadequate access to pre-Hajj healthcare, as reported in the Journal of Infection and Public Health, even while yearly attracting hundreds of thousands of participants.

Lacking the required credentials to reach air-conditioned areas supplied for the 1.8 million legally registered pilgrims, thousands tried the trek without appropriate registration, AFP said. Of the 658 Egyptian deaths listed, 630 were unregistered.

Although Saudi Arabia has not yet published official figures on the deaths, it did note over 2,700 cases of heat exhaustion in one day, therefore highlighting the extreme conditions experienced by participants this year.

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