1,300 pilgrims dead under Mecca’s scorching sun

Over 1,300 pilgrims have died during the Hajj pilgrimage at Mecca amid scorching heat. Thousands were also treated for heatstroke. 

More than 1.8 million participated in this year’s Hajj, the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca. 

Saudi Health Minister Fahd bin Abdurrahman Al-Jalajel said that 83% of the 1,301 fatalities were unathorized pilgrims without ID documents who walked long distances in soaring temperatures to perform the Hajj rituals in and around the holy city of Mecca.

The minister also said 95 pilgrims were being treated in hospitals, some of whom were airlifted for treatment in the capital of Riyadh.

Egypt has revoked the licenses of 16 travel agencies that helped unauthorized pilgrims travel to Saudi Arabia after 660 Egyptians perished this way. Many countries are still in the process of claiming their deceased citizens. 

The Saudi army deployed more than 1,600 personnel with medical units for heatstroke and 30 rapid response teams, but it still was not enough. 

Reportedly, ive hours walking every day is the minimum for the Hajj experience, but many pilgrims spent 12 hours outside per day.

Witnesses said worshipers losing consciousness and walking past bodies covered in white cloth became a norm during the mass religious event. 

Pilgrims lamented the poor infrastructure and organization of this year’s pilgrimage, especially for those who travelled independently, outside of licensed tour groups, says Yahoo News. 

The reason this happened was also because Hajj season changes every year according to the Islamic calendar, and now fell in a June recording above-average temperatures – over 50 degrees Celsius. 

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