Heatwave claims lives of 19 pilgrims during hajj in Saudi Arabia

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By Sana Kahn

Makkah (Pakistan News Online) Severe heat and rising temperatures in Saudi Arabia have resulted in the deaths of at least 19 pilgrims from Jordan and Iran during the Hajj pilgrimage, according to a report by AFP published in Dawn newspaper.

Jordan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed in a statement that 14 Jordanian pilgrims died while performing Hajj rituals, with 17 others reported missing. Meanwhile, the head of Iran’s Red Crescent, Pir Hossein Kolivand, reported that five Iranian pilgrims have died in Mecca and Medina during this year’s Hajj, though he did not specify the causes of death.

This year, approximately 1.8 million Muslims participated in Hajj, where temperatures in Saudi Arabia exceeded 40 degrees Celsius. Many Hajj rituals and prayers are performed outdoors and on foot, posing significant challenges for elderly and older pilgrims.

While Saudi authorities have not yet provided details on the deceased, they implemented several measures to protect pilgrims from the extreme heat and harsh weather conditions. These measures included climate-controlled areas, water distribution, and offering free advice to help pilgrims avoid sun exposure.

Last year, 240 pilgrims died during Hajj. A Saudi official noted this week that over 10,000 heat-related illnesses were recorded last year, with 10 percent of these cases being heat stroke.

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