98 Indian pilgrims died during Hajj in Mecca: External affairs ministry | India News

NEW DELHI: The External Affairs Ministry on Friday informed that 98 Indians died in Mecca this year during Hajj pilgrimage.
“This year, 175,000 Indian pilgrims have visited Hajj so far… We have 98 Indian pilgrims who have died in Hajj … ” MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said in a press conference.
According to reports, the death toll during this year’s Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia has already crossed 1,000 as the intense heat wave pushed the temperature past 100° F in Mecca.
The annual pilgrimage has seen around 10 countries report a total of 1,081 deaths. Earlier this week, temperatures in the city of Mecca reached a scorching high of 125 degrees Fahrenheit.
Saudi Arabia has not commented on the death toll amid the heat during the pilgrimage, required of every able Muslim once in their life, nor offered any causes for those who died. However, hundreds of people had lined up at the Emergency Complex in Al-Muaisem neighborhood in Mecca, trying to get information about their missing family members.
The Saudi Arabian government has a long-standing agreement and custom that the bodies of pilgrims who pass away during the pilgrimage are not returned to their home countries. Instead, the authorities in Saudi Arabia bury them there.
Many of the Hajj rituals require pilgrims to spend long periods outdoors during the day, despite the Saudi officials advising them to use umbrellas, drink plenty of water, and avoid being in the sun during the hottest hours. Some pilgrims reported seeing bodies lying still on the side of the road and ambulance services that were overwhelmed.
This year’s Hajj saw around 1.8 million pilgrims participating, with 1.6 million of them coming from other countries. However, every year, tens of thousands of pilgrims try to perform the Hajj without obtaining official visas in order to save money. This is a more dangerous approach, as they are unable to access the air-conditioned facilities that the Saudi authorities provide along the route.
(With agency inputs)

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