AGL 22.90 Decreased By ▼ -1.83 (-7.4%)
AIRLINK 103.99 Decreased By ▼ -7.11 (-6.4%)
BOP 5.36 Decreased By ▼ -0.18 (-3.25%)
CNERGY 3.86 Decreased By ▼ -0.04 (-1.03%)
DCL 8.02 Decreased By ▼ -0.43 (-5.09%)
DFML 39.10 Decreased By ▼ -3.15 (-7.46%)
DGKC 86.95 Decreased By ▼ -2.65 (-2.96%)
FCCL 22.70 Decreased By ▼ -0.20 (-0.87%)
FFBL 40.59 Decreased By ▼ -1.39 (-3.31%)
FFL 8.89 Decreased By ▼ -0.15 (-1.66%)
HUBC 153.50 Decreased By ▼ -8.70 (-5.36%)
HUMNL 10.65 Decreased By ▼ -0.70 (-6.17%)
KEL 4.55 Decreased By ▼ -0.23 (-4.81%)
KOSM 3.90 Decreased By ▼ -0.16 (-3.94%)
MLCF 37.50 Decreased By ▼ -1.45 (-3.72%)
NBP 49.00 Decreased By ▼ -1.60 (-3.16%)
OGDC 134.15 Decreased By ▼ -2.96 (-2.16%)
PAEL 26.15 Decreased By ▼ -2.40 (-8.41%)
PIBTL 6.07 Decreased By ▼ -0.18 (-2.88%)
PPL 116.79 Decreased By ▼ -6.01 (-4.89%)
PRL 23.55 Decreased By ▼ -0.75 (-3.09%)
PTC 12.90 Decreased By ▼ -0.84 (-6.11%)
SEARL 57.25 Decreased By ▼ -2.80 (-4.66%)
TELE 7.45 Decreased By ▼ -0.31 (-3.99%)
TOMCL 35.74 Decreased By ▼ -3.66 (-9.29%)
TPLP 8.50 Decreased By ▼ -0.26 (-2.97%)
TREET 15.68 Decreased By ▼ -0.52 (-3.21%)
TRG 56.40 Decreased By ▼ -3.60 (-6%)
UNITY 33.40 Decreased By ▼ -1.00 (-2.91%)
WTL 1.18 Decreased By ▼ -0.04 (-3.28%)
BR100 8,433 Decreased By -274.3 (-3.15%)
BR30 26,639 Decreased By -1159 (-4.17%)
KSE100 80,118 Decreased By -1722 (-2.1%)
KSE30 25,681 Decreased By -584.1 (-2.22%)

MINA: - Saudi Arabia on Monday warned of a temperature spike in Makkah as Muslim pilgrims wrapped up the Hajj in searing conditions, with more than a dozen heat-related deaths confirmed.

One of the world’s largest religious gatherings unfolded during the oven-like Saudi summer again this year, and authorities recorded more than 2,700 cases of “heat exhaustion” on Sunday alone, the Saudi health ministry said.

On Monday, according to the Saudi weather service, temperatures reached 51.8 degrees Celsius (125 degrees Fahrenheit) at Makkah’s Grand Mosque, where pilgrims were circling the Kaaba, large black cubic structure towards which all Muslims pray.

In nearby Mina, where a spokesman for the national meteorology service said the temperature was 46C, other pilgrims were throwing stones at three concrete walls – a ritual known as “stoning the devil” that is the last major step of the Hajj, while struggling under the burning sun.

Jordan’s foreign ministry said on Sunday that 14 Jordanian pilgrims had died “after suffering sun stroke due to the extreme heat wave”, and that 17 others were “missing”.

At least 19 Hajj pilgrims dead in Saudi Arabia

Iran reported the deaths of five pilgrims but did not specify the cause, while Senegal’s foreign ministry said that three others had died.

An Indonesian health ministry official, currently in Saudi Arabia, said 136 Indonesian pilgrims had died during the Hajj including at least three of heat stroke.

“The holy sites today record the highest temperatures since the beginning of Hajj… that may reach 49 degrees Celsius, and we advise the guests of God not to be exposed to the sun,” the health ministry said, according to state-affiliated Al-Ekhbariya channel.

The Saudi health ministry announced in a statement 2,764 cases of heat exhaustion on Sunday due to sun exposure and “non-compliance with guidelines”, which include taking shelter from the sun during the afternoon.

“Prevention is the most important, and the commitment of pilgrims not to go out at peak times except when necessary, or to use an umbrella, would reduce the incidence of heat exhaustion,” the statement said.

“Our health guidelines for the coming days are clear and easy: carry an umbrella, drink water regularly, and avoid exposure to the sun.”

‘Really hard day’

The Hajj is increasingly affected by climate change, according to a Saudi study published last month that said regional temperatures were rising 0.4C each decade.

Pilgrims in Mina on Monday poured bottles of water over their heads as authorities handed out cold drinks and fast-melting chocolate ice cream.

Azza Hamid Brahim, a 61-year-old pilgrim from Egypt, described seeing motionless bodies on the roadside as she made her way to and from the three concrete walls.

Muslim pilgrims pray on Mount Arafat in Hajj climax

“The ambulances didn’t know which way to turn. It looked like Judgement Day, the end of time,” she said.

“It was a really hard day. We said to ourselves: ‘That’s it, we’re going to die’ because of the heatwave.”

Arzu Farhaj of Pakistan said she struggled to find help for a woman who was lying on the roadside.

The woman looked to be without anyone accompanying her, “and the people were passing by,” Farhaj said, adding she was unable to get security staff to call an ambulance for her.

The Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and all Muslims with the means must perform it at least once.

It occurs according to the Islamic lunar calendar, shifting forward each year in the Gregorian calendar. This year’s Hajj takes place between June 14-19.

Hajj this year drew around 1.8 million pilgrims, 1.6 million of them from abroad, according to Saudi authorities.

Hosting the Hajj is a source of prestige for the Saudi royal family, and King Salman’s title includes “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques” in the cities of Makkah and Medina.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler, said on Sunday that Saudi officials had committed “to provide everything that will serve those who visit the Two Holy Mosques and help them perform their worship in security and reassurance”.

The health ministry said it would “closely follow cases of heat exhaustion” and ensure pilgrims “can complete their Hajj journey in full health”.

Comments

200 characters