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photo-article-logo Wednesday, 24 July 2024

In pictures: Extreme heat in Saudi Arabia claims hundreds of lives during Hajj pilgrimage

Officials have reported that the intense heat at the Islamic holy sites contributed to a significant rise in fatalities, with temperatures soaring past 50 degrees Celsius

Our Web Desk Published 22.06.24, 04:10 PM
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Muslim pilgrims use umbrellas to shield themselves from the sun as they arrive to cast stones at pillars in the symbolic stoning of the devil, the last rite of the annual hajj, in Mina, near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday, June 18, 2024. The scorching temperatures during this year's Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of pilgrims. Officials have reported that the intense heat at the Islamic holy sites contributed to a significant rise in fatalities, with temperatures soaring past 50 degrees Celsius.

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Muslim pilgrims circumambulate the Kaaba, the cubic building at the Grand Mosque, during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Monday, June 17, 2024. A list circulating online suggests that at least 550 people died during the five-day pilgrimage. This surge in deaths has prompted concerns and investigations, particularly as hundreds of victims from various countries have succumbed to the punishing conditions. Among the deceased are two pilgrims from Bengaluru.

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Muslim pilgrims use umbrellas to shade themselves from the sun as they gather outside Nimrah Mosque to offer the noon prayers in Arafat, on the second day of the annual hajj pilgrimage, near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, June 15, 2024. This extreme heat led to incidents of pilgrims fainting, especially during the symbolic stoning of the devil ritual. Despite Saudi Arabia's substantial investments in crowd control and safety measures for the Hajj, the sheer volume of participants—poses significant challenges for ensuring everyone's safety.

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Muslim pilgrims pray at top of the rocky hill known as the Mountain of Mercy, on the Plain of Arafat, during the annual Hajj pilgrimage, near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, June 15, 2024. The impact of climate change is further exacerbating these risks, making future pilgrimages potentially more dangerous. In response to the high death toll, Egypt formed a crisis unit on June 20 to investigate the deaths of Egyptian pilgrims and to locate 31 missing individuals.

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Muslim pilgrims rest in Muzdalifah, on the second day of the annual hajj pilgrimage, near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, June 15, 2024. Pilgrims were advised to use umbrellas for shade and to stay hydrated, with warnings to avoid outdoor activities during the peak heat hours between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

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A Muslim pilgrim offers prayer at top of the rocky hill known as the Mountain of Mercy, on the Plain of Arafat, during the annual Hajj pilgrimage, near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, June 15, 2024. The tragic loss of life this year underscores the urgent need for enhanced measures to protect pilgrims from extreme weather conditions, as well as the broader implications of climate change on such large-scale religious gatherings.

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