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Heat and Crowds Turn Deadly for Jordanian Pilgrims in Saudi Arabia

Daniel Kim Views  

AFP Yonhap News

Fourteen Jordanian citizens have died during the annual pilgrimage (Hajj) to Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.

According to a report by Jordan’s state-owned news agency PETRA on June 16, the Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Consulate announced that 14 of its citizens had died during the Hajj, and 17 are missing.

The circumstances surrounding the deaths and disappearances have not yet been specifically disclosed.

Ambassador Sufyan Qudah, Head of the Jordan Consulate, stated, “In cooperation with Saudi authorities, we are planning to handle the burial or transportation of the deceased as soon as possible,” adding, “Follow-up measures related to the search for the missing are underway.”

The Hajj, which takes place annually from December 7 to 12 of the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah, is one of the five pillars of Islam and the most sacred religious ritual. The ceremony lasts 5 to 6 days, and this year it will be from the 14th to the 19th.

As large crowds gather in a confined space during the Hajj, it occasionally leads to massive crowd crush. According to the Saudi Statistics Office, 1.8 million pilgrims visited Mecca for the Hajj this year.

In recent years, there have been reports of deaths due to cardiovascular diseases and heatstroke as the Hajj coincides with the summer season and temperatures rise and fall around 113 degrees Fahrenheit. In particular, the number of deaths due to cardiovascular diseases and heatstroke is increasing due to extreme heat that rises and falls around 122 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fahad Al-Jalajel, Minister of Saudi Health of Saudia Arabia warned, “So far, there have been 151 cases of heat stress treated directly by medical staff. We need to be vigilant.”

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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