Heat During Hajj Turns Fatal for Pilgrims

14 are reported killed, and 17 more are missing
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 16, 2024 1:45 PM CDT
Heat During Hajj Turns Fatal for Pilgrims
Muslim pilgrims cast stones at pillars in the symbolic stoning of the devil, the last rite of the annual Hajj, in Mina, near the holy city of Mecca, on Sunday.   (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

Exposure to extreme sun and heat killed 14 Jordanian pilgrims during rituals for the Hajj, a holy trip to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, Jordan's official news agency reported. Another 17 are missing. The temperatures in Mecca on Sunday was 116.6 Fahrenheit. The five-day Hajj is one of the biggest gatherings in the world, the New York Times reports, and Muslims who are able are to undertake the holy trip once in their lifetime. Pilgrims were collapsing on the road, per the AP, especially the elderly. Most of the rituals are held outdoors in places with little or no shade.

Saudi health officials said more than 2,760 pilgrims suffered from sunstroke and heat stress on Sunday. Pilgrims were asked to hydrate and carry umbrellas, per CNN. Many of them will spend up to three days in Mina, which is near Mecca, each casting seven pebbles at three pillars to symbolize the casting away of evil and sin. A Saudi agency projects 1.8 million people to take part in the Hajj, which began on Friday, which marks the beginning of Muslims' Eid al-Adha celebrations. (More Hajj stories.)

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