Deaths among pilgrims in Arab countries due to heatstroke

Several Arab countries have reported deaths among their pilgrims due to heatstroke, as medical and official authorities alert of the dangers of high temperatures this year.

Jordan reported that “six of its pilgrims died during the performance of Hajj rites due to heatstroke,” according to the Jordanian Foreign Ministry. These deaths affect pilgrims outside the official Jordanian mission. Local media reported that the total number of deaths among Jordanian pilgrims stands at 17.

In Egypt, the number of deaths among pilgrims reached nine, according to Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper. These deaths happened in various provinces such as Gharbia, Dakahlia, and North Sinai, some of which were attributed to exhaustion from high temperatures.

The Consulate General of Morocco in Jeddah announced the death of five Moroccan pilgrims for different health reasons, a few days before the beginning of the 2024 Hajj. Among them, three deaths were registered in hotel rooms in Mecca due to chronic diseases like hypertension and diabetes, while two others were due to heat exhaustion.

In Tunisia, the Tunisian Observatory for Human Rights reported the death of five Tunisian pilgrims on Saturday, June 15, in Mecca. Three of these pilgrims belonged to the same family and were impacted by the intense heat at Mount Arafat.

Record Temperatures

Despite high temperatures in one of the hottest regions in the world, pilgrims performed the ritual at Mount Arafat, where the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) delivered his farewell sermon.

Today, Sunday, pilgrims began travelling to Mina to throw stones at the Stele of Acquittal and sacrifice animals, commemorating the first day of Eid al-Adha.

Total Number of Pilgrims

Saudi Arabia announced that the total number of pilgrims this year is 1,833,164, of which 1,611,310 came from more than 200 countries through various entry points, and 221,854 are Saudi citizens and residents. Among them are 958,137 men and 875,027 women.

Warnings and Precautionary Measures

Ahead of this year’s Hajj, the Saudi Ministry of Health cautioned pilgrims of the risks of high surface temperatures at holy sites, which can reach 72 degrees Celsius in some mountainous areas.

The ministry recommended pilgrims constantly use umbrellas to avoid direct exposure to the sun, drink adequate water throughout the day even if not thirsty, and follow all health instructions and advice. It is crucial to avoid going out and exposing oneself to the sun or walking on hot surfaces during peak hours.

These measures seek to prevent incidents of heatstroke and other heat-related complications, thereby ensuring the safety and well-being of pilgrims during this sacred period.

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