Saudi Arabia Confirms the Death of 1,300 Pilgrims on Hajj Pilgrimage Marked by Extreme Heat

Saudi Arabia acknowledged this Sunday the death of more than 1,300 pilgrims during the ‘Hajj’, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, affected mainly by the heat wave that raised temperatures to almost 52 degrees.

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The Saudi Ministry of Health reported in a statement that 1,301 people died during the ‘Hajj’ rites affected by thermal stress, 83% of whom were not allowed to make the pilgrimage. The vast majority of these pilgrims travelled “irregularly” and did not participate with the official delegations of their respective countries.

The deceased “walked long distances under the sun’s rays, without shelter or comfort and among them were several elderly people and people suffering from chronic diseases,” the note said before stressing “the dangers of exposure to heat stress.”

The official death toll from a heat wave during this year’s Hajj pilgrimage has reached nearly 500. But estimates suggest the real number could exceed 1,000. Up to 600 Egyptian worshippers are reported to have died due to the extreme heat en route to Mecca. #hajjjourney pic.twitter.com/1WtEf9ZunV

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The Ministry noted that it contacted the relatives of the deceased after their identification, complex work and that it took time because many of the deceased did not carry any data or identity card: “The necessary procedures have been carried out to identify, bury and honor them in Mecca and their death certificates have been issued,” Health authorities added.

Health and security sources in Egypt today told a press agency that the number of Egyptian Muslim worshippers killed has risen to at least 672, although the Government has confirmed the death of at least 31 pilgrims travelling with the official mission and has admitted that a “large number” travelled without being registered.

Indonesia is the second most affected country with around 200 dead among pilgrims, followed by India, which has recorded 98 deaths, and Jordan, 75 dead, all from “extreme heat”, although most countries that have reported victims during the pilgrimage do not indicate the reasons for the deaths.

The countries have an official mission in which the people who make up it have the permits and visas that Saudi Arabia issues exclusively for the ritual, but due to the high price of this trip, with an average cost of 5,000 dollars per person, many opt for other routes that the Saudi kingdom considers illegal.