Haj 2024: 22 pilgrims dead in Saudi as authorities warn of high temperatures

Five Iranians and 14 Jordanians have died, while 17 pilgrims are missing

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Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Published: Sun 16 Jun 2024, 4:39 PM

Last updated: Mon 17 Jun 2024, 8:24 AM

As one of the world's largest annual religious gatherings wound down, authorities from multiple countries said at least 22 people had died, many of them from "extreme heat", highlighting the acute physical toll of the annual rites which in recent years have fallen during summer in Saudi.

Temperatures soared well above 40℃ each day and on Saturday hit 46℃ on Mount Arafat, where pilgrims performed hours of outdoor prayers.


One treatment centre near Mount Arafat recorded 225 cases of heat stress and fatigue so far, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.

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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".

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

Additionally, authorities are following up on the search for the 17 pilgrims who went missing.

The Saudi health ministry issued an advisory on Thursday, warning of soaring temperatures and advising pilgrims to stay hydrated and avoid being outdoors during the hottest hours of the day between 11am and 3pm.

Authorities in Saudi Arabia have also warned that pilgrims can expect average high temperatures of 44℃ during the Haj. Last year, the pilgrimage saw thousands of cases of heat stress.

Saudi Arabia has implemented heat mitigation measures, including climate-controlled areas. It distributes water, and offers advice to pilgrims on protecting themselves from the sun.

More than 10,000 heat-related illnesses were recorded last year, 10 percent of them being heat stroke, a Saudi official told AFP.

(With inputs from WAM, AFP and Reuters)

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