Heatwave Claims Over 1,300 Lives at Hajj, Majority Unregistered Pilgrims, Updates
Heatwave Claims Over 1,300 Lives at Hajj, Majority Unregistered Pilgrims, Updates
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The death toll from this year's Hajj pilgrimage has tragically exceeded 1,300, with a significant number of pilgrims being unregistered, according to reports from the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) as cited by AFP.

SPA stated, "Regrettably, the number of mortalities reached 1,301, with 83% of them being unauthorized to perform Hajj, having walked long distances under direct sunlight without adequate shelter or comfort."

The deceased pilgrims hailed from more than 10 countries, including the United States and Indonesia, as various governments continue to update their respective totals. Egyptian diplomats disclosed that out of the 658 deaths reported among Egyptians, 630 were pilgrims who had not been officially registered.

Most deaths were attributed to heat-related causes, exacerbated by scorching temperatures reaching as high as 51.8°C in Makkah this year, as reported by Saudi Arabia's national meteorological center.

Initially, Riyadh had not publicly acknowledged the extent of the fatalities or disclosed its own toll. However, a senior Saudi official previously indicated 577 deaths during the busiest days of Hajj, June 15 and 16, when pilgrims endured prolonged exposure to extreme conditions during rituals at Mount Arafat and the stoning of the devil in Mina.

Defending the Saudi government's response, the official stated, "The state did not fail, but there was a misjudgment on the part of people who did not appreciate the risks."

Saudi Arabia's Health Minister, Fahd Al Jalajel, described the management of this year's Hajj as "successful" in an interview with Al Ekhbariya channel, as summarized by SPA. He highlighted that the health system delivered over 465,000 specialized treatment services, including 141,000 to unregistered pilgrims who sought medical assistance during the pilgrimage.

Officials reported that 1.8 million pilgrims participated in Hajj this year, similar to last year's numbers, with 1.6 million arriving from abroad.

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