July 16, 2024

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Diplomats say more than 300 Egyptians die due to the heat while performing the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

Diplomats say more than 300 Egyptians die due to the heat while performing the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

At least 323 Egyptian pilgrims died during Hajj trip Most of them die of heat-related diseases in western Saudi Arabia, two Arab diplomats coordinating their countries’ responses told AFP on Tuesday.

“All of them died from the heat,” one of the diplomats said, except for one person who was fatally injured during a minor stampede among a crowd of people, adding that the total number came from the hospital morgue in the Al-Muaisem district of Mecca.

Diplomats said at least 60 Jordanians also died, up from the official toll of 41 announced by the Jordanian government earlier on Tuesday.

These new deaths bring the total number of deaths reported by various countries so far to 577, according to an Agence France-Presse count. The diplomats said that the total number of bodies in the Al-Muaisem morgue, one of the largest morgues in Mecca, reached 550 bodies.

Muslim pilgrims perform the Farewell Tawaf, or “tawaf,” seven times around the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca on June 18, at the end of the annual Hajj.

AFP via Getty Images

Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and all Muslims who have the means must perform it at least once.

The Hajj is increasingly affected by climate change, according to a Saudi study published last month, which said temperatures in the region where the ritual is held are rising by 0.4 degrees Celsius (0.72 degrees Fahrenheit) every decade.

About 1.8 million pilgrims participated in the Hajj rituals this year, including 1.6 million from abroad, according to the Saudi authorities.

Every year, tens of thousands of pilgrims attempt to perform the Hajj without obtaining official visas in order to save money, a more dangerous task because these unregistered pilgrims cannot access the air-conditioned facilities provided by the Saudi authorities along the Hajj route.

One diplomat who spoke to AFP on Tuesday said the Egyptian death toll had “certainly” risen due to the large number of unregistered Egyptian pilgrims.

Earlier this month, Saudi officials said they had evacuated hundreds of thousands of unregistered pilgrims from Mecca ahead of the Hajj.

Other countries that reported deaths during this year’s Hajj season include Indonesia, Iran and Senegal.

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