Sunday, July 14, 2024

35 Pakistanis among 577 pilgrims die in extreme heat during Haj

35 Pakistanis among 577 pilgrims die in extreme heat during Haj
June 20, 2024 Web Desk

RIYADH (Reuters) - Extreme heat has proved fatal for 577 pilgrims who began the holy journey last Friday to the Holy Kaaba at the Grand Mosque in Makkah in Saudi Arabia.

Egypt alone has registered 320 deaths and another 118 missing, medical and security sources told Reuters, as temperatures at times soared past 51 degrees Celsius (124 Fahrenheit).

The deceased include 144 from Indonesia, 60 from Jordan, 11 from Iran and three from Senegal. The Pakistan’s Ministry for Religious Affairs has also confirmed the death of 35 pilgrims.

According to the Saudi authorities, about 2,000 pilgrims are being treated in different hospitals. 

"It was so harsh and the people cannot bear that type of heat," said Wilayet Mustafa, a Pakistani pilgrim. A witness said bodies lay on the side of the road near Mina, just outside Makkah, covered with the white Ihram cloth - a simple garb worn by pilgrims - until medical vehicles arrived.

Climate scientists say such deaths offer a glimpse of what is to come for the tens of millions of Muslims expected in coming decades to undertake the haj.

During the Haj to the Holy Kaaba, a cube-shaped stone structure at the Grand Mosque, pilgrims perform religious rites as taught by the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) to his followers 14 centuries ago.