Saudi Arabia Reports Over 1,300 Deaths During 2024 Hajj Pilgrimage Due to Extreme Heat

Saudi Arabia has reported more than 1,300 deaths during the 2024 Hajj pilgrimage, predominantly among unauthorized pilgrims who succumbed to extreme heat without adequate shelter. Health Minister Fahad Al Jalajel disclosed that 83% of the deceased did not possess official permits, forcing them to walk long distances under the scorching sun. Presently, 95 unauthorized pilgrims are receiving treatment in hospitals.

Heat-Related Fatalities

The fatalities were primarily caused by heat-related issues, affecting individuals from over 10 different countries. Egyptians were the most severely impacted, with 658 reported deaths. During the pilgrimage, temperatures in Makkah reached up to 51.8°C (125°F), exacerbating the perilous conditions for the pilgrims.

Government Response

The Saudi government has defended its management of the situation, asserting that many pilgrims underestimated the severe risks posed by the intense heat and arduous conditions. Despite the government’s efforts to oversee the pilgrimage and provide support, the lack of proper permits among many pilgrims resulted in inadequate access to shelter and medical care.

Emphasis on Compliance

Saudi officials have stressed the importance of adhering to regulations and obtaining the necessary permits to ensure the safety and well-being of all participants in future pilgrimages. They have reiterated their commitment to enhancing conditions and resources to better manage the large influx of pilgrims and the challenges associated with extreme weather conditions.

The tragic events underscore the critical need for proper preparation and compliance with official guidelines to safeguard the health and safety of pilgrims undertaking the Hajj journey.

For future pilgrimages, the Saudi government plans to implement stricter measures to ensure that all participants have the required permits and are adequately prepared for the demanding conditions. This proactive approach aims to prevent such tragedies and ensure a safer pilgrimage experience for all.

For more information and updates on Hajj regulations and safety measures, please visit the official Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah website.

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