Saudi Arabia’s Extreme Heat Claims Lives of 577 Hajj Pilgrims

At least 577 Hajj pilgrims have lost their lives while performing Hajj rituals in Makkah due to the extreme heat, AFP reported.

Reports from the hospital morgue in Makkah’s Al Muaisem neighborhood stated that around 550 pilgrims perished during this year’s Hajj as a result of intense heat. The total number of fatalities reported by various countries has now reached 577, according to AFP’s tally.

According to two Arab diplomats, at least 323 Egyptians were among the deceased, with heat-related illnesses being the primary cause of their deaths.

“All of them (the Egyptians) died because of heat,” except for one who sustained fatal injuries during a minor crowd crush, one of the diplomats said.

Furthermore, the diplomats revealed that at least 60 Jordanians also passed away, a number that adds to the official tally of 41 reported earlier on Tuesday by Amman.

The Hajj pilgrimage is increasingly affected by climate change, according to a Saudi study published last month that said temperatures in the area where rituals are performed were rising 0.4°C each decade.

Temperatures hit 51.8°C at the Grand Mosque in Makkah on Monday, according to the Saudi national meteorology center.

At least 240 pilgrims were reported dead by various countries last year, most of them Indonesians.

Pilgrims in Mina, outside Makkah, on Monday were seen pouring bottles of water over their heads as volunteers handed out cold drinks and fast-melting chocolate ice cream to help them keep cool.

Saudi officials had advised pilgrims to use umbrellas, drink plenty of water, and avoid exposure to the sun during the hottest hours of the day.

Some pilgrims described seeing motionless bodies on the roadside and ambulance services that appeared overwhelmed at times.

Around 1.8 million pilgrims took part in the Hajj this year, 1.6 million of them from abroad, according to Saudi authorities.

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