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68 Indians among 600 dead during Hajj pilgrimage, confirms Saudi diplomat

That figure included 323 Egyptians and 60 Jordanians, the Arab diplomats said, and one specified that nearly all the Egyptians died “because of heat”. Fatalities have also been confirmed by Indonesia, Iran, Senegal, Tunisia and Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region.

68 Indians among 600 dead during Hajj pilgrimage, confirms Saudi diplomat gcw
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First Published Jun 20, 2024, 8:38 AM IST

A diplomat in Saudi Arabia said on Wednesday that 68 Indian nationals died during the hajj pilgrimage this year marked by searing heat, bringing the overall tally to more than 600. "We have around 68 verified deaths. Some are the result of natural causes, and there were a lot of elderly pilgrims. We presume that some of them are caused by the weather," the diplomat told AFP while remaining anonymous.

The new toll comes after two Arab diplomats told AFP on Tuesday that 550 deaths had been recorded during the hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam that all Muslims with the means must perform at least once.

The Arab diplomats stated that this number included 323 Egyptians and 60 Jordanians, with one stating that almost all of the Egyptian deaths were "caused by heat."

Fatalities have also been confirmed by Indonesia, Iran, Senegal, Tunisia and Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region, though in many cases authorities have not specified the cause.

An AFP count indicates that there have been 645 confirmed deaths to date. Over 200 pilgrims were reported deceased last year, the majority of them were from Indonesia. Saudi Arabia recorded more than 2,700 cases of "heat exhaustion" on Sunday alone, but it has not released any statistics on deaths.

The diplomat who confirmed the Indian fatalities said there were also some Indian pilgrims missing, but he declined to provide an exact number. “This happens every year… We can’t say that it is abnormally high this year,” he said.

For the past several years the hajj has fallen during the sweltering Saudi summer.  According to a Saudi study published last month, temperatures in the area where rituals are performed are rising 0.4 degrees Celsius (0.72 degrees Fahrenheit) each decade.

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