Home » Death toll in Hajj tops 1,000 after extreme heat

Death toll in Hajj tops 1,000 after extreme heat

by John Ojewale
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The death toll from this year’s hajj has surpassed 1,000, according to an AFP count released Thursday, with more than half of those killed being unregistered worshippers who completed the pilgrimage in harsh temperatures in Saudi Arabia.

According to an Arab official, 58 of the fresh deaths reported Thursday were Egyptian visitors, with 630 being unregistered.

Around ten nations have recorded 1,081 deaths during the trip, which is one of Islam’s five pillars and requires all Muslims with the means to participate at least once.

The Hajj, which is timed according to the lunar Islamic calendar, took place again this year amid the scorching Saudi summer.

This week, the National Meteorological Centre reported a high of 51.8 degrees Celsius (125 Fahrenheit) in Mecca’s Grand Mosque.

According to Saudi research released last month, temperatures in the area are rising by 0.4 degrees Celsius every decade.

Every year, tens of thousands of pilgrims attempt to attend the hajj through unofficial methods because they cannot pay the often expensive legal visas.

Saudi officials claimed expelling hundreds of thousands of unregistered pilgrims from Mecca this month, but it appears that many continue to participate in the major ceremonies, which began last Friday.

This group was particularly susceptible since they could not utilise the air-conditioned areas designated for the 1.8 million permitted pilgrims to cool off.

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cc: Vanguard Ng


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