Over 1,000 Dead in Extreme Heatwave During Hajj Pilgrimage in Mecca

In a tragic turn of events during this year’s Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, over 1,000 participants have succumbed to the extreme temperatures, which have soared above 52°C (125.6°F). The annual pilgrimage, a sacred duty for Muslims who are physically and financially able, has been marred by the scorching heat, affecting the health and safety of the more than 1.8 million pilgrims. Despite efforts by Saudi authorities to mitigate the heat’s impact through water distribution, sprinklers, and some air-conditioned areas, the high temperatures have led to a significant death toll, which is feared to rise further. Unregistered pilgrims, lacking access to proper facilities, have been particularly vulnerable, with reports of individuals struggling severely in the heat.

  • Nearly 2 million Muslims participate in the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca annually.
  • More than 1,000 deaths have been reported this year, attributed to extreme temperatures exceeding 52°C.
  • Unregistered pilgrims lack access to essential facilities like air conditioning and official transport.
  • The Saudi authorities have faced criticism in the past for their management of the Hajj, and despite logistical efforts, the heat has posed a significant danger this year.
  • Victims of the heat have included individuals of all ages and levels of physical fitness.
  • There are reports of families mourning the loss of loved ones, including cases where individuals undertook the pilgrimage without official registration, making them more vulnerable.
  • Climate change is feared to potentially make future Hajj pilgrimages even more hazardous.
  • Islamic Relief has called for urgent steps to be taken to inform pilgrims of the risks and to prioritize their safety.

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