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Tragic Death Toll Rises to 577 During Hajj Pilgrimage in Makkah

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An alarming death toll of at least 577 pilgrims has been reported in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, mainly due to the scorching temperatures, according to the latest updates from AFP. The hospital morgue in Makkah’s Al Muaisem neighbourhood has confirmed that approximately 550 pilgrims lost their lives during this year’s Hajj pilgrimage due to the extreme heat. However, the cumulative number of deaths reported by various countries has increased the toll to 577, as per AFP.

Reports from two Arab diplomats, coordinating responses from their respective countries, have further revealed that among the deceased pilgrims, a significant number—323 individuals—were Egyptians, with the majority succumbing to heat-related ailments. One diplomat acknowledged that all but one of the Egyptian pilgrims tragically perished due to heat-related issues, while the lone exception succumbed to fatal injuries sustained during a minor crowd crush. Additionally, the diplomats disclosed that at least 60 Jordanians lost their lives, which adds to the previously reported official figure of 41 deaths provided by Amman on Tuesday.

A recent Saudi study published last month has indicated that the Hajj pilgrimage is increasingly impacted by climate change, highlighting a concerning trend of temperatures in the vicinity of ritual sites rising by 0.4°C each decade. The situation escalated to alarming levels as temperatures soared to 51.8°C at the Grand Mosque in Makkah on Monday, as per the Saudi National Meteorology Centre.

The distressing situation during the Hajj pilgrimage has been notably dire, with last year’s death toll reaching approximately 240 pilgrims, the majority of whom were from Indonesia. Witnesses in Mina, situated outside Makkah, observed pilgrims resorting to desperate measures, such as pouring water over their heads and receiving cold beverages and rapidly melting chocolate ice cream from volunteers, in an effort to combat the oppressive heat.

Amidst these troubling developments, Saudi officials had advised pilgrims to utilize umbrellas, stay well-hydrated, and avoid sun exposure during the peak hours of intense heat. Several pilgrims recounted distressing scenes of motionless bodies on the roads, along with overwhelmed ambulance services.

This year’s Hajj pilgrimage drew around 1.8 million participants, of which 1.6 million were international pilgrims, according to Saudi authorities. The devastating loss of life underscores the urgent need for heightened measures to ensure the safety and well-being of all participants in future Hajj pilgrimages.

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