Hajj Deaths Soar in Saudi Heatwave

Over 1,300 pilgrims perished during this year's Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. Worshippers braved scorching temperatures at the holy sites in the desert kingdom, Saudi authorities announced on Sunday.

Sursa: AP

The Saudi health minister reported that 83% of the 1,301 fatalities were unauthorised pilgrims who undertook long walks in the searing heat to perform the Hajj rituals in and around the holy city of Mecca.

More than 660 Egyptians were among the dead. All but 31 were unauthorised pilgrims. Egypt revoked the licences of 16 travel agencies that facilitated unauthorised pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia.

The death toll also includes 165 pilgrims from Indonesia, 98 from India, and dozens more from Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, and Malaysia, according to an Associated Press tally. The cause of death remains unconfirmed by AP, though some countries, like Jordan and Tunisia, blame the extreme heat. AP journalists witnessed pilgrims fainting from the sweltering conditions, particularly on the second and third days of the Hajj.

Throughout history, deaths have not been uncommon at the Hajj, which can attract over 2 million pilgrims to Saudi Arabia for the five-day pilgrimage. The pilgrimage's history has also been marked by stampedes and deadly outbreaks of disease.

This year's death toll, however, was unusually high, suggesting extraordinary circumstances.

Translation by Iurie Tataru

Bogdan Nigai

Bogdan Nigai


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