Over 900 pilgrims dead, including 68 Indians, during Hajj in Saudi Arabia, says diplomat

As many as 68 Indian nationals died during the Hajj pilgrimage this year, which was marked by searing heat and intense high temperatures. The overall death toll has risen to 900.

Written By Alka Jain
Updated20 Jun 2024, 06:36 AM IST
A member of the Saudi security forces prevents people from approaching as a man effected by the scorching heat lies on the ground during the arrival of  Muslim pilgrims arrive to perform the symbolic 'stoning of the devil' ritual as part of the hajj pilgrimage in Mina, near Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca. (AFP Photo)
A member of the Saudi security forces prevents people from approaching as a man effected by the scorching heat lies on the ground during the arrival of Muslim pilgrims arrive to perform the symbolic ’stoning of the devil’ ritual as part of the hajj pilgrimage in Mina, near Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca. (AFP Photo)

As many as 68 Indian nationals died during the Hajj pilgrimage this year, which was marked by searing heat and intense high temperatures, said people familiar with the matter on Wednesday. The overall death toll stands at more than 900.

"We have confirmed around 68 dead... Some are because of natural causes, and we had many old-age pilgrims. And some are due to the weather conditions, that's what we assume," the diplomat told AFP on the condition of anonymity.

Also Read | Hajj 2024 begins today: Millions of pilgrims arrive in Saudi Arabia

The Indian government has not issued any official statement on the death toll during the Hajj pilgrimage yet.

The updated death toll was reported after two Arab diplomats informed AFP on Tuesday that 550 fatalities had been recorded during the hajj. This pilgrimage, one of the five pillars of Islam, is an obligation for all Muslims who have the financial and physical capability to undertake it at least once in their lifetime.

Also Read | Muslims start the Hajj against the backdrop of the devastating Israel-Hamas war

According to the Arab diplomats, the total included 323 Egyptians and 60 Jordanians, with one diplomat noting that almost all the Egyptians succumbed "due to heat."

Deaths have also been reported by Indonesia, Iran, Senegal, Tunisia, and Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region, though in many instances, the authorities have not disclosed the exact causes.

Last year, most of the 200 dead pilgrims were from Indonesia. Saudi Arabia has not disclosed the number of fatalities but reported over 2,700 cases of "heat exhaustion" on Sunday alone.

Also Read | 2024 Hajj claims at least 19 lives due to intense heat

“This happens every year... We can't say that it is abnormally high this year. It's somewhat similar to last year but we will know more in the coming days,” the diplomat who confirmed the Indian fatalities said. He also stated that some Indian pilgrims were missing too, but refused to provide an exact number.

In recent years, the hajj has occurred during the intensely hot Saudi summer. A Saudi study published last month indicated that temperatures in the region where the rituals are conducted increase by 0.4 degrees Celsius (0.72 degrees Fahrenheit) every decade.

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First Published:20 Jun 2024, 06:36 AM IST
HomeNewsIndiaOver 900 pilgrims dead, including 68 Indians, during Hajj in Saudi Arabia, says diplomat

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