Tuesday , July 23 2024

Six Hajj pilgrims died of heatstroke in Mecca amid scorching heat

Riyadh: Six Hajj pilgrims have died so far due to scorching heat in Mecca, amid warnings by Saudi authorities that temperatures during this year's Hajj could reach up to 48 degrees Celsius. Jordan's Foreign Ministry said all the six deceased were Jordanian citizens and coordination was being done with Saudi authorities in Jeddah regarding the possibility of repatriating their bodies and burying them in Jordan. The news of the deaths came as pilgrims gathered at Mount Arafat, the main landmark of the Hajj pilgrimage, on Saturday.

Jordan had earlier said that its official delegation this year included more than 4,000 pilgrims. However, the foreign ministry later clarified that the six deceased were not part of any official delegation and did not have a valid Hajj licence to perform the pilgrimage.

According to Health Ministry spokesman Mohammad al-Abdul Ali, Hajj authorities have advised people to carry umbrellas in the extreme heat and drink water from time to time.

The Saudi army has deployed 1,600 personnel and 30 rapid response teams with medical units for special heatstroke. An additional five thousand health and first aid volunteers are also participating. According to the Saudi General Authority for Statistics, more than 1.8 million people are taking part in the Hajj this year. The Hajj is one of the largest pilgrimages in the world. It is the largest event held in Saudi Arabia. It takes place during the Islamic month of Dhul Hijjah, two months and 10 days after the end of the month of Ramadan.

Since the Islamic calendar is based on the moon, its year is shorter than the Gregorian year, causing the timing of the Hajj to change each year. This year Saudi Arabia is expected to experience extreme heat during the five-day Hajj, with temperatures in Mecca expected to reach 48 degrees Celsius.