Haj: Death toll due to extreme heat rises to 235 in Makkah

Jordan, Tunisia reported more fatalities after temperatures hit 51.8 degrees Celsius

By AFP

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Muslim pilgrims take part in the Satan stoning ritual, during the annual haj pilgrimage in Mina, Saudi Arabia June 18, 2024. Photo: Reuters
Muslim pilgrims take part in the Satan stoning ritual, during the annual haj pilgrimage in Mina, Saudi Arabia June 18, 2024. Photo: Reuters

Published: Tue 18 Jun 2024, 9:12 PM

Last updated: Tue 18 Jun 2024, 9:14 PM

The death toll from extreme heat during the haj pilgrimage rose Tuesday, with Jordan and Tunisia reporting more fatalities after temperatures hit 51.8 degrees Celsius (125 Fahrenheit) in Makkah.

As of Tuesday evening, the total number of reported deaths this year stands at 235, compared with more than 240 last year. Most countries have not specified how many deaths were heat-related.


The annual pilgrimage, one of the world's largest religious gatherings, unfolded again during the sweltering Saudi summer.

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Saudi authorities have reported treating more than 2,000 pilgrims suffering from heat stress but have not provided information on fatalities.

Jordan, which had earlier reported 14 deaths from sunstroke, on Tuesday said 41 permits to bury deceased pilgrims in Makkah had been issued.

It said officials were "monitoring the procedures for burying Jordanian pilgrims who passed away during the haj after suffering from heatstroke as a result of the extreme heat wave".

The official Petra news agency also said an untold number of Jordanian pilgrims were missing and that authorities were trying to locate them and bring them home.

Tunisia's foreign ministry said on Tuesday that 35 hajj pilgrims died amid a "sharp rise in temperatures" in Saudi Arabia.

Neither the Jordanian nor Tunisian statements said precisely how many deaths could be attributed to heat as opposed to other ailments.

Egypt's foreign ministry said on Tuesday that Cairo was collaborating with Saudi authorities on search operations for Egyptians who had gone missing during the haj.

While a statement from the ministry said "a certain number of deaths" occurred, it did not specify whether Egyptians were among them.

Earlier this week Indonesia reported 132 deaths among haj pilgrims, three of which were attributed to heatstroke, and heat was cited as "one of the main reasons" for 13 deaths among pilgrims from Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region.

Senegal and Iran have also reported deaths without listing a cause.

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

The pilgrimage is increasingly affected by climate change, according to a Saudi study published last month that said temperatures in the area where rituals are performed were rising 0.4C each decade.

Around 1.8 million pilgrims took part this year, 1.6 million of them from abroad, according to Saudi authorities.

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