Hajj 2024: At Least 19 Pilgrims Die Due To Intense Heat In Saudi Arabia

New Delhi: At least 19 pilgrims, most of them Jordanians and Iranians died from heat during the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, AFP reported. Jordan’s foreign ministry said the pilgrims had died from intense heat while 17 others were missing.

Iranian Red Crescent chief Pirhossein Koolivand confirmed that five Iranian pilgrims had died in Mecca and Medina during this year’s Hajj. Koolivand, however, did not specify the cause of death. Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, hasn’t given any information on deaths, AFP added.

The update comes after CNN reported on June 16 that six people had died from heatstroke during the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. The Jordanian foreign ministry said that they were working with Saudi officials on burial procedures and possibly returning the bodies to the country.

Temperatures exceeded 46 degrees Celsius this week, making outdoor rituals difficult, especially for the elderly, as many Hajj rituals are done outdoors and on foot. “The expected climate for Hajj this year will witness an increase in average temperatures of 1.5 to 2 degrees above normal in Mecca and Medina,” Ayman Ghulam, the head of Saudi national meteorology centre, said at a press conference.

The forecast estimated “relative humidity 25%, rain rates close to zero, average maximum temperature 44 degrees”, according to him.

Hajj is one of the world’s largest gatherings, with over 1.8 million pilgrims this year, according to Saudi officials. Despite a history of deadly incidents like stampedes and fires, the main challenge most years is the intense heat.

Many Muslim pilgrims have arrived in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, for the annual Hajj pilgrimage starting on June 14. Every year, pilgrims visit the city to follow the path of the Prophet Muhammad on their spiritual journey.

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