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As temperatures in Mecca soar to 50°C, hundreds of Hajj pilgrims pass away


 

Thousands of people have received treatment for heatstroke and hundreds of people died while making the yearly Muslim Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in extremely hot conditions, reaching as high as 49 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit).

According to CNN Indonesia, which cited the nation’s Consulate General’s Hajj Management Office in Saudi Arabia, there are about 165 Indonesians among the deceased. Authorities in each nation report that at least 41 Jordanians, 35 Tunisians, and 11 Iranians have lost their lives.

According to Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency, the Iranian Red Crescent announced on Wednesday that 26 Iranians had been admitted to hospitals and that an additional 22 Jordanians were missing.

According to the Iranian Red Crescent, some of the Iranians who passed away had heatstroke, while others had preexisting medical issues.

Since Saudi Arabia and Egypt have not yet released official numbers, the death toll is probably going to increase. Furthermore, more pilgrim deaths are predicted among the unregistered group; governments are only aware of pilgrims who have registered and visited Mecca in order to fulfil their nation’s quota.

On Monday, the Saudi government announced that over 2,700 individuals had received treatment for heatstroke. Hundreds of individuals have posted about their loved ones going missing on social media in the meantime.

The Saudi General Authority for Statistics reports that over 1.8 million people are participating in this year’s Hajj, one of the biggest religious gatherings in the world.

Although pilgrim deaths are not unusual—more than 200 pilgrims died the year before—this year’s event is being held in unusually hot weather.

According to the Islamic calendar, the Hajj season varies annually and this year it fell in June, which is one of the hottest months in the kingdom.

After temperatures rose to an extraordinary 49 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit) on Monday, Saudi Arabia warned pilgrims not to carry out the “stoning of the devil” ceremony within specific hours.

In light of the extreme weather, Hajj organisers have advised pilgrims to take umbrellas and drink plenty of water. The Saudi army has also sent out over 1,600 people, including 30 fast response teams and medical units dedicated to treating heatstroke. There are an additional 5,000 volunteers providing health and first aid.

One of the five pillars of Islam is performing the Hajj, which mandates that every Muslim who is financially and physically capable travel to the holy city of Mecca at least once in their lifetime.

The pilgrimage entails a number of detailed rituals, including as the symbolic stoning of evil, an anticlockwise circular procession around the cube-shaped Kaaba, and the wearing of a special garment that represents human equality and unity before God.

(Source: CNN)


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