Over 1,000 people died in Mecca pilgrimage due to extreme heat

More than 1,000 people have died this year in the pilgrimage to Mecca, one of the five pillars of Islam, with extreme heat and temperatures exceeding 50 degrees. More than half the victims were pilgrims who had not registered.

Nearly 10 countries have reported 1,081 deaths during the pilgrimage, according to the France-Presse news agency. The pilgrimage date is marked by the lunar calendar and this year it coincides with Saudi Arabia’s scorching summer.

Many unregistered pilgrims cannot afford to pay for the often expensive official permits. Without these permits they cannot enter the air-conditioned spaces prepared by authorities for the 1.8 million authorized pilgrims this year.

An Arab diplomat has informed the press that 630 of the 658 dead Egyptians are unregistered pilgrims. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has ordered the creation of a “crisis cell” to monitor the issue, but the number of unregistered travelers complicates tracing efforts.

For example, Pakistan has reported 58 deaths and Indonesia has reported 183 deaths (compared to 313 deaths last year). Malaysia, India, Jordan, Iran, Senegal, Tunisia, Sudan and Iraqi Kurdistan have also confirmed deaths. Saudi Arabia has not provided an official death toll.

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